According to a Reuters report quoting the Islamic State's Amaq news agency, ISIS has killed the two Chinese citizens it kidnapped in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province on May 24. Chinese Foreign Ministry responded early Friday morning, "We have taken note of relevant reports and we express our grave concern... The Chinese side is working to learn about and verify relevant information through various channels."
The two Chinese citizens, Li Xinheng and Meng Lisi, were Chinese-language teachers at a local private school. Some news sources have reported that they were in a relationship together while other sources have said they were just colleagues.
The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan issued an emergency alert when the two were first reported missing. The Pakistan government has also pleaded that it will do all it can to save the two Chinese teachers.
Baluchistan province is an unstable region in Pakistan. The country has had to establish strict security measures to ensure the safety of Chinese engineers employed there. In recent years, there have been incidents where Chinese citizens were kidnapped and later rescued, but there have also been instances where kidnapped Chinese were later killed. The private education institution where the two Chinese teachers worked is considered to be an area with less stringent security measures.
With more Chinese now traveling abroad than ever before, with even some venturing to unstable countries and regions, ensuring safety has become a massive challenge for China's national security efforts. In fact, it has now become an even more challenging task as Chinese citizens can be found throughout various parts of the world.
China and its citizens have normally not been the targets of international terrorist forces because the country is not deeply involved in the conflicts within the Middle East, nor is it in the habit of interfering with the internal affairs of other countries.
However, as China's influence has risen upon the world stage, some terrorist groups have begun targeting Chinese nationals in order to gain higher ransom rewards or achieve a greater level of sensational notoriety, and both have been contributing factors in the increase of kidnapping incidents among the Chinese.
As an important country along the “Belt and Road", Pakistan has become an increasingly popular destination for Chinese travelers. Given Pakistan's complex security situation right now, authorities from both countries need to establish a more comprehensive security and safety program that encompasses all Chinese citizens in Pakistan.
The Chinese have shown their bravery and courage by traveling abroad to unstable regions. Although their reasons for venturing to such locations vary, many of them are pioneers who represent the national interests of China.
These intrepid pioneers are scattered throughout any number of foreign work environments, education facilities and living areas. It is now of utmost urgency for the Chinese citizens living in unstable locales to enhance their abilities to protect themselves and avoid danger at all costs, in addition to utilizing the security measures imposed by authorities.
If indeed the latest news from Reuters is confirmed, the nation will be deeply saddened by the loss of two young Chinese lives. The violent acts carried out by terrorist groups should be strongly condemned, and indeed they will be. Their continued acts of murder and execution will never lead to anything good. Most of all, the Chinese government and its society will not bow to terrorism under any circumstances.