BEIJING: China’s president on Thursday strongly condemned the killing of a Chinese hostage by the Islamic State group, saying such groups are enemies of mankind.
Though President Xi Jinping expressed resolve to crack down on terrorism, there was no indication that China would change its consistent opposition to outside involvement in the conflict in Syria, where IS has captured a broad swath of territory. Beijing says the Syrians themselves need to arrive at a political solution.
IS said in its magazine Wednesday that it had killed two hostages it was holding for ransom — from Norway and China — after they had been “abandoned” by infidel nations.
The Chinese man had been identified as Fan Jinghui, 50, a self-described wanderer from Beijing who once taught grade school and sometimes worked in TV production. China’s Foreign Ministry in Beijing confirmed his killing early Thursday.
“China strongly condemns the brutality of the killing of Chinese national by the Islamic State extremists,” the Chinese president said in Manila while attending an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting. He was quoted by China’s official Xinhua News Agency. He expressed his condolences to the victim’s family.
“Terrorists are the common enemy of humankind,” Xi said. “China firmly opposes terrorists of all forms and resolutely cracks down on any crimes that challenge the foundation of human civilization.”
Fan also worked in advertising and TV production and described himself during an interview in 2001 by China National Radio as a free spirit and reader of Greek philosophy.
“I love reading about the history of science,” Fan said in the interview, which was part of a program profiling people without fixed careers. “And the ancient Greek great philosophers’ pure spiritual pursuit of freedom really gave me a jolt. That great spirit can be seen as the powerful motive for me to go after freedom.”
Fan said in the interview that he was born in 1965 and worked as a school teacher for six years after graduating from college. He said he joined an advertising firm in 1994 but left after about a year and later worked odd jobs, including as an off-the-books assistant producer at state TV broadcaster CCTV.
In 2002 he registered his own advertising company, Beijing Jingcai Yinsu Advertising Co. Ltd., according to a corporate database run by the Beijing government. However, the license was revoked from September 2003 until at least 2009, and it is unclear if was later renewed.
On Thursday, a police car was parked outside the middle school where his wife works, and the school gatekeeper told a reporter that she had not come to the office. No one answered the door at Fan’s apartment in western Beijing, where neighborhood elderly were patrolling the grounds to keep strangers out.
China has not dispatched troops, planes or any other assets to take part in fighting in Syria.
However, Beijing in recent years has shown a willingness to use its military to protect its citizens in conflict zones and dispatched planes and a navy frigate to aid in the evacuation of 35,000 Chinese workers from Libya in 2011. More recently, China sent a naval squadron to Yemen this spring to rescue Chinese citizens and other foreign nationals from fighting.
Most Chinese citizens are believed to have already left Syria following four years of civil war.
Beijing also has been stepping-up anti-terrorism cooperation with other nations, including Turkey, from where most ISIS foreign recruits — allegedly including some from China — cross the border into Syria.