A Beijing business that was selling Nazi paraphernalia was shut down by Chinese police.
A broadcast on Chinese state television Monday announced the police action.
German diplomats in Beijing, commenting on the broadcast, said that Nazi revivalism was virtually unheard of in China.
“This is worrying,” one diplomat reportedly said on Tuesday. “This must mean there is a wider problem or they [the government] would not be reporting it so widely. They would be keeping it quiet.”
Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress, said in an interview that the announcement was significant because it indicates that renewed Jewish and Israeli contact with China “has heightened China’s sensitivity” to this matter.
In the past, such an incident would have been ignored, he added.
China established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992.
The broadcast, noting that Jan. 27 was the 51st anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, began by saying Germany had proclaimed Jan. 27 “a day to reflect on the persecution of Nazism” in order to teach future generations not to forget history’s lessons.
It then provided a list of Nazi paraphernalia available at the store, including gas masks, helmets and clothing, and badges and medals with the Nazi swastika – “everything but weapons,” according to the broadcast.
The report did not say, however, who was behind the operation or if it had links to neo-Nazi groups in Europe or North America.
There was also visible non-Nazi military paraphernalia in the store, according to the report, indicating the venture may have been more commercial than ideological.