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Islamic State execution of Chinese man could spur involvement in Syria

The report of Chinese national Fan Jinghui's execution could lead to China’s more active diplomatic role in the Syrian peace process.

By Elizabeth Shim
Islamic State execution of Chinese man could spur involvement in Syria
Chinese President Xi Jinping said Thursday "terrorists are the common enemy of humanity," during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Manila. File Photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo

MANILA, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping mentioned the Islamic State – also identified as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL – for the first time in a speech that denounced the reported execution of a Chinese national.

Xi, speaking on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Manila on Thursday, said, "Terrorists are the common enemy of humanity," Bloomberg reported.

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"China strongly condemns the brutal murder of a Chinese national by [the] Islamic State...China resolutely opposes terrorism in any form and resolutely fights against violent, terrorist, criminal activities that challenge the bottom line of human civilization," Xi said, according to state-owned China Central Television.

In September, the IS had said in its English-language magazine Dabiq that it had captured a Chinese and a Norwegian hostage, identified respectively as Fan Jinghui, 50, and Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad, 48, NDTV reported.

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Fan reportedly ran an advertising firm in Beijing before becoming a freelance consultant, and the IS had demanded a ransom for Fan and the Norwegian hostage.

Beijing's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the government had been working to rescue Fan and would enact justice on the executioners – although the IS killings have yet to be confirmed and Dabiq did not mention when and where the killings took place.

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"The Chinese side noticed the report and was greatly shocked," Hong said in a statement.

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The report of the execution could lead to China's more active diplomatic role in the Syrian peace process, according to Li Wei, head of security and anti-terrorism research at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. But Li said he doesn't see any possibility for China to join the international coalition on anti-IS airstrikes.

China also has refused to support international sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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