Guardian A couple who were part of a group of tourists arrested in China have said their ordeal arose from a misunderstanding when local officials thought a documentary on Genghis Khan was “propaganda” material. by Josh Halliday and Mark Tran
'Chinese officials arrested the 20 tourists last Friday, a day after they had visited the Genghis Khan mausoleum at Ordos, Inner Mongolia.
The arrest took place at Ordos airport, just before they were to board a
plane to their next destination, Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province
in central China.
'The group was made up of 10 South Africans, nine Britons, and one Indian. Mystery had surrounded the arrests
as local police refused to comment and foreign officials said only that
the tourists were suspected of “criminal offences”. On Thursday Zhang
Xi, an official in Ordos in charge of dealing with foreigners, told the
media: “These people are suspected of watching and spreading violent
'But all 20 have now been released without charge, with the last three
Britons deported on Friday. Their arrest looks to have been a mistake
by overzealous local officials amid a crackdown on human rights activists. More than 145 lawyers and campaigners have been detained as part of a rapidly intensifying campaign.'