According to reports by Britain’s Foreign Office and a South African charity, a group of 20 foreign tourists, including Britons, South Africans and an Indian national, was arrested in northern China for alleged links with a “terror” group.
Although China has agreed to release 11 of those detained, the remaining nine will continue to be held at a detention center in Inner Mongolia, the South African charity, Gift of the Givers, confirmed. The still detained include five South Africans, three Britons and one Indian. As per allegations, some of those arrested had been watching propaganda videos of a banned group, in their hotel room.
While a British Foreign Office spokesman said, “Consular staff have visited the group to provide assistance and we are liaising with Chinese authorities,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the South African embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Reuters. An Indian embassy spokesman has reportedly said he had no information on the matter, whereas Chinese law enforcement authorities have not released any statement.
The tourists, who were on a 47-day tour, were detained at an airport in the Inner Mongolian city of Erdos. The group coordinator on failing to contact them for two days after the arrest, realized that something had gone “horribly wrong”, the South African foundation said.
Several of those detained are relatives of Shameel Joosub, chief executive of telecoms company Vodacom Group Ltd., the charity added.
Gift of the Givers, which has negotiated hostage releases, said, “These individuals have no terror links, no criminal record in their country”.