ISIS claims responsibility for killing two Chinese nationals believed to be preaching in Pakistan

(Reuters/Naseer Ahmed)A general view of the market in central Quetta, Pakistan September 20, 2016.

The Islamic State has taken credit for the abduction and murder of two Chinese nationals who were said to be preaching the Gospel in Pakistan.

According to Dawn, armed men dressed as policemen kidnapped a Chinese man and woman in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province on May 24.

On June 8, ISIS claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and released a video showing the murder of the two Chinese nationals, who were later identified as 24-year-old Lee Zing Yang and 26-year-old Meng Li Si.

Reports have indicated that the two Chinese nationals were Christian missionaries who had obtained business visas from the Pakistani embassy in Beijing. The Chinese pair went to Quetta on the pretext of learning Urdu, but they were said to be preaching Christianity instead of studying the language.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has instructed Interior Secretary Tariq Mehmood to investigate the matter and ensure that misuse of business visas do not occur in the future.

The news of the killings came as China is building a new port and funding roads in Balochistan to link its western regions with the Arabian Sea.

In 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping signed off on the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), pledging to invest $57 billion in Pakistani road, rail and power infrastructure, prompting large numbers of Pakistanis to study Mandarin.

Meanwhile, Chinese media has accused South Korean Christian groups of converting Chinese nationals and sending them to preach Christianity in Muslim countries.

The state-run Global Times cited Chinese analysts who have 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."

"South Korean missionaries have been conducting underground missionary activities in China since at least a decade ago. Many missionary organisations 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.

A university student who has participated in several missionary events has claimed that South Korean missionaries have been sending teenagers to conduct risky missionary activities in Muslim countries. He noted that some South Korean missionaries offer free airfare tickets, accommodation and meals to Chinese teenagers to go to South Korea before sending them elsewhere.

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

A Global Times editorial asserted that it was doubtful that ISIS targeted CPEC because the two victims were not staff members related to the project.

"This tragedy was more likely caused by the conflict between South Korean missionary agencies and local terrorists," the editorial stated, as reported by The Hindu.

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