Yesterday a netizen posted on a Hsin-chu-related Facebook page a picture showing a Nazi flag sticker sold alongside stickers displaying flags of other countries. The sticker mistakenly referred to the Nazi symbol as the flag of Germany.
Asher Yarden, Representative of the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, the de facto embassy of Israel in Taiwan, released a statement condemning the selling of stickers bearing Nazi imagery.
“We strongly and utterly condemn the selling of stickers bearing Nazi flags,” the statement said. “These flags represent the Nazi regime during the Jewish Holocaust – the darkest period in modern times, and have historically been used by evil forces to spread hate and terror, intimidate and incite.”
The statement called the use of Nazi flags “unacceptable” and pointed out that this incident is “even more disturbing since it is the second time in less than a year that the Nazi flag is being presented in an abusive way at Hsinchu County.”
Yarden was referring to an episode dating back to December 2016, when a group of students from Hsin-chu Kuang-Fu Senior High School held a mock Nazi rally with a cardboard tank, Nazi uniforms and swastikas. Following Israel’s protest, Taiwanese president Ts’ai Ying-wen issued an apology and the school’s principal offered his resignation.
That was not the first time the use of Nazi themes in Taiwan hit the headlines.
In 1999 a company importing electric heaters from Germany advertised its products with cartoons featuring Adolf Hitler. In 2000 a Nazi concentration camp-themed restaurant opened in Taipei, causing an outcry.
One year later the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) launched a video advertisement that opened “with a segment showing Hitler delivering a fiery address, waving his arms and placing them on his chest.” The alleged purpose of the advertisement was to “encourage young Taiwanese to take part in political life and express their opinions about current events.” The video also featured segments with Fidel Castro and John F. Kennedy.
In 2014 an Italian restaurant in Taiwan named a Spaghetti dish with German sausages ‘long live the Nazis’. The manager later apologized.
Taiwan might also be the only country in the world where civil servants must perform a salute eerily similar to the Fascist salute during oath-taking ceremonies. According to Taiwan’s oath-taking protocol, civil servants must “raise their right arm with a straightened hand and extend it towards the national flag and the image of the Founding Father [Sun Yat-sen].” (watch video below)
Israel called on the authorities in Taiwan “to take immediate action” to remove from sale the Nazi stickers and urged them to “initiate a comprehensive program on the Holocaust, its history and the lessons that need to be drawn from it, in an effort to educate the Taiwanese public on the gravity of the Holocaust, including the symbols associated with it.”
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