Anti-Nazi laws de­serve ut­most re­spect

China Daily (Canada) - - VIEWS -

Two Chi­nese tourists were ar­rested in Ber­lin re­cently for giv­ing a Nazi salute while pos­ing for pho­tos in front of the Re­ich­stag par­lia­men­tary build­ing. Two ex­perts share their views with China Daily’s Zhang Zhoux­i­ang from dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives. Ex­cerpts be­low:

to be more spe­cific. On June 2, 2014, the Ger­man par­lia­ment passed a bill that pro­hibits the use of the num­ber “88” in pub­lic un­der cer­tain con­di­tions, be­cause the com­mon salute in Nazi Ger­many was “Heil Hitler”, and many neo-Nazis use “88” to cam­ou­flage their iden­tity and pur­pose as “H” is the eight let­ter of the al­pha­bet.

Ger­many launched two world wars that devastated Ger­many and many other coun­tries, and left mil­lions of peo­ple dead. Af­ter the end of World War II, how­ever, Ger­many atoned for its dark past.

Many Ger­man lead­ers have apol­o­gized for the deaths and suf­fer­ings un­leashed by the Nazis. In 1970, for ex­am­ple, Willy Brandt, then chan­cel­lor of the Fed­eral Re­pub­lic of Ger­many, knelt be­fore a mon­u­ment to the Ger­man oc­cu­pa­tion-era War­saw Ghetto Up­ris­ing dur­ing his visit to Poland. His show of hu­mil­ity left a deep im­pres­sion about Ger­many’s sin­cer­ity to atone for its past.

Ger­many’s strict laws against Nazi sym­bols should be a les­son for Ja­pan, as the Ja­panese Con­sti­tu­tion nei­ther for­bids peo­ple to use mil­i­tarist lo­gos of the im­pe­rial era, nor pro­hibits Ja­panese politi­cians from vis­it­ing Ya­sukuni Shrine, which among oth­ers hon­ors 14 Class-A war crim­i­nals of World War II .

As the main vic­tim of Ja­panese ag­gres­sion be­fore and dur­ing World War II, China needs to rally so­cial and po­lit­i­cal sup­port to op­pose some Ja­panese lead­ers’ at­tempts to white­wash their war past. Since Ja­pan has not sin­cerely apol­o­gized for the atroc­i­ties it com­mit­ted dur­ing World War II, China needs to put more pres­sure on it to do so.

“Please re­spect lo­cal cus­toms and obey lo­cal laws when you visit a for­eign coun­try.” Al­most ev­ery do­mes­tic travel agency tells tourists be­fore they em­bark on a for­eign tour. But it seems the two Chi­nese tourists in Ber­lin didn’t pay heed to the ad­vice.

Many peo­ple at­tach greater im­por­tance to “lo­cal cus­toms” than “lo­cal laws”. While trav­el­ing abroad, Chi­nese tourists are usu­ally curious to know what the lo­cal peo­ple eat and drink, but they of­ten for­get to study lo­cal laws.

For ex­am­ple, some Chi­nese par­ents prone to thrash their kids in pub­lic can be de­tained in the United States for do­ing so.

This time, the two Chi­nese tourists in Ber­lin didn’t have even the ba­sic knowl­edge about Ger­man laws. The two have been pun­ished for their wrong­do­ings. But we still need to strengthen ed­u­ca­tion about world his­tory and cul­tural ex­changes to pre­vent such things from hap­pen­ing again.

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