Two of the UK tourists who were among 20 other foreigners deported from China for watching “terrorist propaganda” said that they had merely watched a film about Genghis Khan in their hotel rooms, a recent press release said.
Nine Britons, 10 South Africans and one Indian national were stopped at the Ordos Airport in Inner Mongolia on the morning of July 10 and detained on accusations of ‘watching promotion videos from a banned terror group’ in their rooms. The group was on a 47-day tour meant to “explore the ancient China,” according to African NGO Gift of the Givers (GOTG), which added that “They were detained without charge with no access to any communication nor to legal representation.”
The tourists “first watched a documentary in a hotel room. After some of them left, the rest proceeded to watch video clips advocating terrorism,” Xinhua had reported.
Turns out the video in question was historical documentary produced by the BBC, according to the Guardian:
Britain’s Press Association reported that the documentary was a BBC production on the 13th century Mongol warrior Genghis Khan, citing a statement from two of the British tourists, husband and wife Hoosain and Tahira Jacobs. They said that the video “may have mistakenly been deemed as propaganda material’.”
“It can only be assumed that junior officials who made the initial arrest in Inner Mongolia made a mistake, due to perhaps their unfamiliarity of the English language,” the statement said.
The Jacobses also said that the group was a mixture of Muslims, Christians and Hindus who had traveled together in the past, including to Israel and the US. They had visited the Genghis Khan Mausoleum in Ordos the day before they were stopped at the airport.
Still, Xinhua is reporting that all of the detained tourists ‘admitted to their illegal acts and repented’. Nine of the tourists were deported on Saturday while the other 11 were deported on Wednesday.
Police said they decided to treat the case ‘leniently’, according to Xinhua.
[Image via China.org]