Twenty foreign tourists including an Indian, have been arrested in northern China for suspected links to a 'terror group'. The incident has been reported by Britain's Foreign Office and a South African charity- Gift of the Givers foundation.
The other tourists include South Africans and Britons.
According to the charity's reports, China has agreed to release 11 of the total tourists, but the rest will continue to be held without charge, at a detention center in Inner Mongolia. Five South Africans, three Britons and one Indian national make up the nine being held.
Why the arrest?
Chinese authorities said that some of tourists arrested had been watching propaganda videos from a banned group in their hotel room.
The tourist group was on a 47-day tour of the country, when they were detained at an airport in the Inner Mongolian city of Erdos. The tour operator of the group realised the gravity of situation when had did not heard from the tourists for two days after 12 July.
The Gift of Givers, which is presently negotiating the hostage release, has claimed that the tourists have no terror links and no criminal record in their countries. Meanwhile, the Consular staff has visited the group to provide assistance and the British Foriegn office is in constant talks with the Chinese authorities.
An Indian embassy spokesman reportedly told Reuters that he had no information on the matter.
Several of those detained reportedly are relatives of Shameel Joosub, chief executive of telecom company Vodacom Group Ltd. Vodacom Group is a leading African mobile communications company.