'Terror video' was Genghis Khan documentary: Detained tourists

July 20, 2015 09:26
Genghis Khan. Foreign invader? Check. Used brutal, terror tactics? Check. Dead 787 years? Check. Photo: Field Museum

Nine foreign tourists detained by Chinese authorities for allegedly watching terror propaganda videos last week were merely viewing a documentary on Genghis Khan, the ancient Mongol conqueror.

None of them were charged with any wrongdoing, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a spokesman for two of the travelers.

Chinese authorities have released the five South Africans, three Britons and one Indian national, who will be sent home within days, diplomats and relatives of the tourists said.

China’s foreign ministry said last week that 20 foreign nationals were detained over “suspicion of criminal wrongdoing” in Ordos, Inner Mongolia.

They were on a 47-day private tour of ancient sites across China.

Eleven members of the tour group -- six Britons and five South Africans -- were released and deported earlier.

But local public security officials held nine of the visitors under criminal detention pending further investigation.

A government official in Ordos said the nine tourists were held over allegations they were watching terror group propaganda videos but didn’t give details.

The travelers “watched a BBC documentary on Genghis Khan to further their understanding of the region they were in at the time, and this may have mistakenly been deemed as ‘propaganda’ material,” the spokesman for a couple from South Africa said Saturday.

He said the tour group had visited the Genghis Khan Mausoleum in Ordos a day before the arrests.

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