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South Africans arrested in China speak out after returning home

EWN last week revealed 10 South Africans were detained on suspicion of watching propaganda videos.

Ordos Ejin Horo Airport in Inner Mongolia. Picture: Mongolia Tourism.

JOHANNESBURG - The South Africans who were arrested in China say now that they are back home they look forward to leading normal lives again.

Eyewitness News revealed last week that 10 South Africans had been detained in Inner Mongolia on suspicion of watching propaganda videos.

Twenty people, including British and Indian nationals, were arrested.

All 10 South Africans returned to South Africa on Saturday.

New details about their ordeal emerged at the weekend following the return of all 10 tourists who were detained in Inner Mongolia.

The release of the group has been described as a diplomatic victory.

In a statement issued on behalf of the families the group that went over to China described itself as "peace-loving".

They said they were on a journey to see ancient and modern wonders and to experience new cultures.

There's a suggestion that their arrest was an unfortunate misunderstanding and the work of a junior official who didn't speak English and mistook a BBC documentary for propaganda.

There's still no official explanation for the arrests.

Reports have emerged from China's official press agency that nine of the 20 tourist detained in Inner Mongolia signed so-called confession and repented.

In a statement issued following the return of the second and last group of South Africans this weekend the arrests are described as an unfortunate misunderstanding.

The families of those who say they want to resume living "normal lives" say no further interviews will be granted.

This means a claim by the Chinese authorities that nine of the 20 tourists confessed about watching videos that advocate terrorism may go unanswered.

So far the group has said the only videos they watched were westerns and a documentary on Genghis Khan.