Chinacartimes, the website that monitors the Chinese car market, put its finger on a disturbing new trend in China: Cars adorned with Nazi paraphernalia.“Some Chinese like to dress up in period military costumes and stick WW2 era German military insignia all over their motors,” reports Ash Sutcliffe, the owner/operator of the site.
There is a burgeoning market in China for these odd accessories, if Taobao, China’s take on eBay, is an indicator. On Taobao, Sutcliffe found “quite a selection of Nazi era automotive stickers ranging from Imperial Eagles to straight up Swastikas and everything else in between.”
While some of these stickers could get you in jail in Germany, China is known for its unburdened handling of Third Reich symbolism. One of the most famous examples is China’s logo for China’s top brands, which reminds some of the insignia of Nazi-Germany’s infamous Schutzstaffel. Let’s just say that Chinese products carrying that logo might have problems finding buyers both in Germany and Queens. The Chinese administrators resisted urges to change the SS symbol. This year, it will be phased out, but not because of possible Aryan associations: After the milk powder scandal, no new “China Top Brands” were selected.
It’s an issue all over Asia. When I familiarized myself with the neighborhood of our second home in Japan, I was shocked to see on the map that I was surrounded by Nazi sympathizers. Some of the toniest Tokyo real estate sported swastikas. They pointed in the wrong direction, but what do they know. Much to my relief, I was told that it is an ancient map symbol for a Buddhist temple. Wenn das der Führer wüsste!