Two Americans who run an English-teaching business in China arrested

From Ryan Fahey at Daily Mail:

Two Americans who run an English-teaching business in China have been detained in the east of the country, according to their company, which said they were being held on ‘bogus’ charges.

Jacob Harlan, the founder of the company and a father of five, and Alyssa Petersen, the company’s associate director, were arrested in Jiangsu province last month, their Idaho-based company China Horizons said on its Facebook page.

A page set up to raise money for Petersen’s legal fees says she was formally charged with ‘illegally moving people across borders.’

The business charges a fee to arrange for American teachers to teach in Chinese schools. The company said they will now shut down before the end of October as they are unable to guarantee their teachers’ safety.

China Horizons said on Facebook last week that the pair ‘are being charged for bogus crimes and their families are working on getting them international lawyers to help them get back home to the States.’

Harlan, the founder of China Horizons, was being held in a hotel under police surveillance in the city of Zhenjiang, according to a separate page set up for his legal fees.

Police detained him while he was with his eight-year-old daughter at a hotel in Weifang, Shandong province, on September 28 and took away his phone and computer, according to the post.

His daughter was finally allowed to briefly call her mother she later took an international flight with a family friend.

Petersen, who is the associate director of China Horizons, was detained around September 27 and was not heard from for two weeks until the State Department located her, according to her page.

‘We received information that she is doing okay, She wakes up when told, she goes to sleep when told. She spends her day in a jail cell or walking in a circle counting steps,’ the page says.

‘She cannot have any contact with anyone outside of a consulate officer who can visit once a month and a lawyer.’

274 donors have contributed about $27,000 to Jacob’s legal fund.

Alyssa has $13,000 on hers.

The story has gotten a ton of attention.

But the organizers are worried about more publicity.

At this point, we are waiting to go crazy with publicity until an attorney can get a feel for the case and let us know whether it would help or hurt the situation.

We are grateful for the options so many of you have offered for contacting officials or media. We’ll keep those contacts in our back pocket for if/when we need to go big. Thank you for your generosity!