A group of 20 foreign tourists have been arrested in northern China on suspicion some had ties to a “terror group”, Reuters reported.
China has agreed to release 11 of the tourists, but the rest will continue to be held without charge at a detention center in Inner Mongolia, the news agency said, citing a statement from Gift of the Givers Foundation, a South African charity.
Those being held include five South Africans, three Britons and one Indian national, it said.
Chinese authorities said some of those arrested had been watching propaganda videos from a banned group in their hotel room, according to the foundation.
“Consular staff have visited the group to provide assistance and we are liaising with Chinese authorities,” a British Foreign Office spokesman told Reuters.
The group was on a 47-day tour of the country when they were detained at an airport in the Inner Mongolian city of Ordos.
Their tour operator realized something had gone “horribly wrong” on Sunday, two days later, the foundation said, when he hadn’t heard from them.
“These individuals have no terror links, no criminal record in their country,” Gift of the Givers said.
“The families thank the South African government for their unwavering support and call upon the Chinese government to release the detainees immediately.”
Several of those detained are relatives of Shameel Joosub, chief executive of telecoms company Vodacom Group Ltd., the charity added.
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