Blundering Mongolian Officials Arrest Prominent South African Tourists

Chinese authorities have arrested a number of prominent South Africans "for watching propaganda videos in their hotel room". The tour group was on a 47 day visit to the ancient sites of China when officials in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, detained the tour group on the suspicion of it being linked to an unspecified terror organisation. The South Africans were not permitted to contact their families or embassy officials. Their cellphones and personal possessions were confiscated.

Nine Britons and an Indian national were also arrested. The travellers, all friends or family, are mostly retirees or professionals - including two medical doctors and a former MK member.

Eleven of the twenty travellers arrested have been released and are to be deported. Five South Africans remain in police custody.

South Africa's deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, is currently in China on a State visit and is expected to attempt to secure the release of the South Africans.

Ordos is known for its lavish government projects, including the new Ordos City, a large city with abundant infrastructure, seldom used by residents and frequently described as a "ghost city". It hosted the 2012 Miss World Final.