Indian faces up to 10 yrs in China jail for ‘terror links’

BEIJING (TIP): The Chinese authorities informed the Indian embassy on July 16 that the Indian detainee held for “links to terror group” along with eight others was being charged for violating criminal laws that could result in jail sentence of three to 10 years. The charges include distributing videos and material related to terrorism and involvement in terrorist activities, sources said.

The Indian in the group was identified as Rajiv Mohan Kulshrestha by the Gift of Givers Foundation, the NGO that had organized the excursion, and Indian officials are expected to meet him after the formalities related to consular access. The embassy has sought and obtained consular access to provide Kulshrestha with a lawyer.

Shameel Joosub, relative of three of the detained tourists, said officials of the South African embassy in Beijing, who visited the detainees, confirmed that they were watching videos of the 12th century Mongol king, Genghis Khan.

There is an ongoing dispute between China and Mongolia about Khan’s origins, with China saying he belonged to its Inner Mongolia province, and Mongolia claiming him as its own.

“The embassy went down to Ordos and they established they were saying they watched propaganda videos, not Islamic videos, in their hotel room. We know they were watching a Genghis Khan documentary. We’re not sure where it came from,” Joosub told a South African publication. Under Chinese law on counter-terrorism, watching videos on terrorism can result in law violation and legal action, Global Times newspaper quoted Li Wei, an expert on counter terrorism, as saying.

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Chinese authorities often detain and arrest people in Xinjiang province, which is the site of major terrorist activities, for watching videos related to terrorism.

“From what the embassy guys tell us, who were the only ones allowed to see them, they didn’t watch anything funny. They’re not sure why they’re being held,” Joosub said. Six Britons deported early on Thursday reached UK. The five South Africans are expected to return home on Friday. The British govern ment has sought clarification from Chinese authorities about the reasons for the detention, a report from London said.

The other detainees include five South Africans and three Britons, while six other British nationals were deported, the British embassy in Beijing confirmed.

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