Chinese tourists arrested for making 'Heil Hitler' salute in Germany

The Chinese embassy in Berlin has warned its nationals to respect local laws after two Chinese tourists were detained for performing a Nazi salute in front of the city's parliament building.

The Reichstag building was where the Third Reich met from 1933 - 1945 and was the location for many of Hitler's speeches.

Both suspects were taken to a police station for questioning before being released after each posted €500 bail, or about $590, the newspaper reported. Laws prohibiting the salute also exist across Austria, Sweden, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland and several other nations.

The pair, 36 and 49-year-old males, were arrested on Saturday after being spotted photographing each other giving the banned salute.

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Comedian Chelsea Handler called for thought crime laws in America in a tweet Sunday night, after two Chinese tourists were arrested in Berlin, Germany, for throwing up the Nazi salute.

The criminal code established after the Second World War targeting Nazi symbolism and propaganda - known as section 86a - is mostly used to prosecute members of far-right organizations, such as Neo-Nazis.

The Chinese citizens are now facing charges for "using symbols of illegal organizations" which could carry a fine or a prison sentence of up to three years, according to the police. They were asked to leave the country during the investigation.

The Reichstag, outside which the Chinese tourists posed, is also a touchy subject in German history.

  • Megan Austin