Pakistan says Chinese hostages killed by IS were preachers

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2017/6/13 0:28:37

S.Koreans recruit Chinese to preach in Muslim countries

Pakistani soldiers stand guard near the site where two Chinese were kidnapped in the neighborhood of Jinnah town in southwest Pakistan's Quetta, May 24, 2017. The Chinese embassy in Pakistan on Wednesday confirmed that two Chinese nationals were kidnapped by unknown gunmen in Quetta, the provincial capital of Pakistan's southwest Balochistan province. (Xinhua/Asad) 

Pakistan on Monday confirmed that two Chinese citizens who were abducted last month had been killed by the Islamic State (IS). They said the victims were preachers who had abused the visa system by posing as business people to enter the country.

Pakistan's interior ministry identified the two abductees as "Lee Zingyang, 24, and Meng Lisi, 26," Reuters reported. No detailed personal information about the two victims has been released by either the Chinese or Pakistani governments.

The interior ministry said the two had entered Pakistan on business visas. But instead of doing business, they had gone to Quetta, where they pretended to learn Urdu from a Korean business owner but "were actually engaged in preaching."

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said on Monday that China and Pakistan are still coordinating with Pakistan to verify the information.

Lu also stressed that the Sino-Pakistani friendship has not been affected by this incident, and Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had a good conversation during the 17th Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Pakistan promised it will enhance protection for Chinese citizens after IS claimed they had executed the pair.

"The protection forces will buttress a 15,000-strong army division set up specifically to safeguard projects in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor initiative," the News, a Pakistani newspaper, reported on Monday.

The Chinese foreign ministry condemned the terrorist act on Saturday by saying China resolutely opposes any act of abducting civilian hostages and opposes all terrorist and violent activities.

The tragedy has triggered off a new wave of anger against Islamic terrorism among the Chinese public, who have already been victimized by terrorism and extremism in the country's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Forbidden proselytizing

At the same time, Chinese analysts warned of another dangerous trend that might see China become entangled in constant trouble with overseas terrorism as South Korean missionaries are allegedly recruiting Chinese people to preach in Muslim countries.

Experts spoke of increasing activities by South Korean Christian groups who have been active in converting people in China, an officially atheist country, and proselytizing in Muslim countries, where such activities are forbidden and may even result in death sentences. 

Analysts further warned that some illegal missionary activities by South Korean religious groups in China are even sponsored by Seoul's secret services.

"South Korean missionaries have been conducting underground missionary activities in China since at least a decade ago. Many missionary organizations are even sponsored by the [South Korean] intelligence agency, the National Intelligence Service," said Chu Yin, an associate professor at the University of International Relations.

Apart from recruiting young people in China, South Korean missionaries send teenagers to risk their lives to conduct missionary activities in Muslim countries, and compared to Chinese, more South Koreans have been killed abroad due to risky missionary activities in conservative Islamic regions, an anonymous university student who has participated in several South Korean underground missionary events, told the Global Times on Monday.

"Normally these missionaries will try to attract young Chinese students who come to churches because these students want to know about Christianity. Some of them will offer free airfare tickets, accommodation and meals if Chinese teenagers go to South Korea, and as they [missionaries] normally have a legal cover, like being an exchange scholar or postgraduate student, many Chinese students decide to go with them," said the anonymous student.

"Some Chinese voluntarily join in the dangerous missionary activities in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq after being converted by South Koreans," he added.

China has very strict rules on foreigners' religious activities in China. The country forbids foreigners from converting people.


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