Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Two U.S. citizens were arrested and are awaiting trial on charges of illegally transporting people across China's borders, Beijing's foreign ministry said Thursday.
Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing two Americans, a man and a woman, were being detained in Jiangsu Province for breaking the law.
"Jacob Harlan and Alyssa Petersen, two Americans, systematically helped others secretly cross the border," Geng said. "The two people were detained Sept. 27 and 29, respectively."
The Chinese government spokesman said Beijing has informed the U.S. consulate in Shanghai and U.S. diplomats in China have been allowed access to Harlan and Petersen.
Harlan is the owner of China Horizons, an English language program that offers a "cultural experience for American students who teach English in Chinese schools," according to the company's Facebook page.
Last week, China Horizons said in a Facebook post the two Americans were being wrongfully detained.
"They 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," the company said in statement.
The firm also said it is facing trouble because of the "increasing political and economic problems between the United States and China."
"We are no longer able to send teachers to China safely," China Horizons said.
Harlan and Petersen have been released on bail, Al Jazeera reported Thursday.
"We are aware of the detention of two U.S. citizens in Jiangsu, China and the charges being brought against them by the provincial government," a U.S. State Department official said on condition of anonymity, according to the report.
"We take seriously our responsibility to assist U.S. citizens abroad and are monitoring the situation."
The U.S. State Department warned Americans in January to "exercise caution" when traveling to China.