SA woman jailed in China for almost a month after going to teach English

A 19-year-old East London woman, Tristan-Lee Niemand, has been held in a Chinese prison for almost a month, Dispatch Live has reported.

Niemand, who was planning to teach English in the country, was reportedly arrested on November 16 for having the incorrect visa to teach English in the city of Nanjing.

According to EWN, her mother, Stacey-Lee, is begging authorities to help secure her daughter's release.

According to her mother, Tristan-Lee was arrested for not having a work permit to teach in China. This after a recruitment agency had reportedly promised to get her the necessary documents to work legally in the country.

Netwerk24 reports that Tristan-Lee is being kept in dire conditions and has not had contact with her parents in East London.

Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya confirmed to Die Burger that Tristan-Lee was being held in a Nanjing jail. "She does not have the correct visa to work there," Mabaya reportedly said.

News24 attempted to contact Mabaya, but the call went unanswered.

Scammed

Tristan-Lee's mother told EWN that she had been pleading with the Chinese consulate and South African officials.

"She's a South African citizen. When she's there she has a consulate or embassy that's supposed to look after her when she faces trouble, but they have totally blindsided her. They haven't even visited her," she is quoted as saying.

In June, the Chinese government released 51 aspiring South African teachers who were stranded in the country after being scammed.

Some of the teachers had been in the country since June 2017 and others since April this year.

The group had been held in China to testify against their agent, who had brought them from SA to teach in Asia.

It is alleged that Owen Wang, who claimed to represent Sanda Youth International, enticed the group to fly to China on study visas, on the understanding that they would get work visas once there.

They were detained because they had broken immigration laws, but the Chinese government acknowledged that they had been scammed.

Similarly, Netwerk24 reports that Tristan-Lee is being held to testify against recruitment agencies that promise applicants work visas after a training period.