Beijing vows to seek justice after IS kills first Chinese hostage

Islamist terror group also executes Norwegian citizen Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad

This combination of undated images taken from Islamic State’s online magazine Dabiq purports to show Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad (48) from Oslo, Norway and Fan Jinghui (50) from Beijing, China. IS had demanded ransoms for the two men. Photograph: Dabiq via AP

This combination of undated images taken from Islamic State’s online magazine Dabiq purports to show Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad (48) from Oslo, Norway and Fan Jinghui (50) from Beijing, China. IS had demanded ransoms for the two men. Photograph: Dabiq via AP

 

China has vowed to seek justice after Islamic State killed its first known Chinese hostage in Syria.

President Xi Jinping strongly condemned the “cruel murder” of Fan Jinghui, labelling terrorism humanity’s common enemy.

“Terrorism is the common enemy of human beings,” said Mr Xi on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) meeting in Manila. He added that China opposes terrorism of all forms and would “resolutely crack down on any terrorist crimes that challenges the bottom line of human civilisation”.

Islamic State said it had killed Mr Fan, described as a freelance consultant, and the Norwegian citizen Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad, in a report in its English-language online magazine Dabiq.

The two men had previously been depicted as “for sale” in the magazine.

China has not been actively involved in the fight against Islamic State, but the government is likely to come under pressure to step up its response following the killing of Mr Fan. He had previously run an advertising agency before he went travelling and it is not known what he was doing in Syria.

The online reaction was one of shock and anger.

“I believe in my country. One day my country will get rid of these animals,” wrote NV Motou on the Sina Weibo social network, while another commentator, Wuyu Lunbi, said: “When are we going to send our fighters there? We must be strong.”

Premier Li Keqiang said China would strengthen protection of its citizens and organisations overseas.

“The Chinese government strongly condemns the atrocity,” Mr Li told the Xinhua news agency, urging relevant government departments to help Mr Fan’s family and expressing his sympathy.

Kidnapping

In a regular news briefing, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the Chinese government had gone all out to rescue the hostage after learning of the kidnapping. The IS, however, ignored basic human morality and brutally killed Fan, said Mr Hong.

“China will continue to enhance anti-terrorism co-operation with the international community and maintain world peace and tranquillity,” he said.

Earlier this week Mr Xi condemned last week’s terror attacks in Paris and called on the international community to support China’s battle against Islamist extremists in the far western region of Xinjiang.

China feels the west does not condemn violence in Xinjiang strongly enough. In the past three years, hundreds have died in violence that Beijing blames on Islamist militants and separatists, prompting a major crackdown by authorities.

However, human rights groups believe Beijing exaggerates the threat to justify harsh controls in the region, which has seen tensions between Uighurs and Han Chinese settlers moving into the resource-rich province.

China says its fight against the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a UN-listed terror group, should be recognised as an important part of the international fight against terrorism.

Western nations have not co-operated with China on intelligence-sharing or provided other resources, saying China has yielded little evidence to prove that the terror attacks are a co-ordinated campaign orchestrated by ETIM.