July 14, 2015

"The other nine are being held without charge at a detention centre on the accusation that they were watching propaganda videos."

Business Day Ten South Africans are among a tour group detained by the Chinese government on suspicion of association with a terror group or banned organisation. via RDM News Wire

'The detentions come as China is hosting Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and several government officials on a trade-related visit.

'While the Department of International Relations and Co-operation is trying to ascertain specific details‚ Gift of the Givers says the group is being denied contact with family members‚ even on Tuesday — four days after their arrest.

'Among the South Africans being held are three relatives of Vodacom’s CEO and two medical doctors‚ according to the organisation.

'Gift of the Givers director Imtiaz Sooliman said in a statement the group had embarked on a tour to explore ancient China‚ "a planned 47-day journey for 10 South Africans‚ nine Britons and one Indian national".

'On Friday‚ July 10‚ they were arrested at Erdos Airport‚ Inner Mongolia‚ at 9.40am local time.

'"It was only on Sunday‚ 48 hours later‚ when the tour operator realised that something was amiss and made the trip to Erdos‚ that the first information on the detained citizens came to light‚" he said.

'Mr Sooliman said the Chinese had suggested some members of the group were "linked to a terror group; to a banned organisation; to watching propaganda videos in their hotel room".'

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