Chinese police arrest man with Nazi symbols on his car

The authorities reacted quickly after the Israeli consulate in Chengdu posted a picture of the vehicle online along with a condemnation.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Authorities reacted quickly in China after the Israeli consulate in a regional capital posted a picture online of a vehicle covered with Nazi symbols, along with a condemnation, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported Monday.

“On Chengdu’s busiest street, a car with a spray-painted swastika was seen parading around the streets. Deeply shocked,” the consulate wrote Wednesday on WeChat.

“We believe the owner placed this evil symbol in a prominent location because they do not understand this period of history or that [this symbol] is contaminated with the blood of many innocent lives,” the chat continued.

“We also sincerely hope the car’s owner will see this message and promptly remove it. ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,’ philosopher George Santayana once said.”

According to Chinese news site Global Times, police in the Sichuan capital already arrested the owner the next day, with a police spokesperson saying, “The owner of the car has been found and the incident has been dealt with.”

The man allegedly told the authorities that he didn’t know that the words and symbols were offensive. “Waffen SS,” which was misspelled “Waffeen” in English, along with the Nazi group’s double S shaped in the form of a lightning strike and a Nazi war eagle holding a swastika, had all been painted in black on his white car’s hood.

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Comments by readers on the news site included the question of how exactly the matter had been “dealt with,” since the police did not specify. Some castigated the car owner, calling him “stupid” and saying that it was a “brainless move.” At least one sounded like he or she was defending the writing, saying, “Germany is not as good as the Nazis today.“

The consulate removed the posts by Thursday, said the JTA report, acquiescing to a request by Chinese officials. It was unclear whether this was done before or after the arrest.

The incident is not necessarily an indication of anti-Jewish feelings, as the Holocaust is not a well-known subject in the region in general.

The Waffen SS were responsible for a major part of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against Jews and other “undesirables” during the war.