By BosNewsLife Asia Service
ISLAMABAD/BEIJING (BosNewsLife)– China says it is investigating claims that two of its citizens were engaged in “illegal preaching” before the two Christians were killed by Islamic militants in Pakistan.
Pakistani officials identified the victims as 24-year-old Lee Zing Yang and 26-year-old Meng Li Si. They say they entered Pakistan on business visas but later began “preaching,” without offering details.
The slain Chinese nationals were kidnapped at gunpoint late last month from the provincial capital, Quetta. The Islamic State group said last week through its global mouthpiece the Amaq News Agency that it had executed the hostages.
Chinese pastors have reportedly confirmed that the two young Chinese missionaries were killed by Islamic State militants.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in a statement Wednesday, June 14, that Chinese officials have yet to directly confirm the deaths.
Yet there were indications that Chinese and other foreign Christians in could face government pressure. While Pakistani interior minister Nisar Ali Khan called the killings an “unfortunate” incident he also directed authorities to “review” the process of issuance of visas to Chinese nationals.
The minister reportedly said that a group of Chinese citizens, including the slain couple, had entered Pakistan on business visas, but “Instead of engaging in any business activity they went to Quetta and under the garb of learning Urdu language … were actually engaged in preaching.”
The statement added that a Korean national, Juan Won Seo, who runs an information technology-related company in the provincial capital was hosting the Chinese group.
Minister Khan “observed that it is highly unfortunate that a misuse of the terms of a business visa contributed to the unfortunate incident of abduction and subsequent murder of two innocent Chinese,” an official statement said.
He also directed authorities to gather information about Chinese nationals in Pakistan and establish a database to enable security institutions to ensure their protection.
It was unclear what impact the incident would have on bilateral relations with China which is investing nearly $60 billion in Pakistan to help build infrastructure projects, including road and rail links as well as power plants.
Baluchistan is at the center of the mega cooperation dubbed as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC.