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London -

Three British tourists arrested in China face being charged with “criminal offences” related to terrorism, it was reported on Wednesday night.

The Britons were among a group of tourists arrested in Ordos, northern China.

The group also included South Africans and a former ANC member with dual British-South African nationality.

Eleven of the tourists, including six Britons, were due to be deported today.

But nine others, including three UK nationals, remain in custody to face “criminal charges”.

Gift of the Givers, a South African charity supporting the group, said: “The Chinese have been very vague saying that someone has links to a suspected terror group and someone was watching propaganda videos.”

Many of the group are Muslim and it is thought they may be suspected of links to militants from China's predominantly Muslim Uighur ethnic group.

Imtiaz Sooliman, of Gift of the Givers, said: “This is the month of Ramadaan. The South Africans were likely watching videos of Islamic prayers.”

Among those reportedly being kept in China were Hossain Ismail Jacobs, 72, a former member of the ANC's armed wing during the anti-apartheid struggle, and his wife; both are thought to have dual South African-British nationality.

The Foreign Office said consular staff had visited the three Britons in custody.

The Independent