Beijing has vowed to bring ISIS to justice after the group said it had executed two hostages, a Chinese and a Norwegian.
ISIS said it had killed the two men, identified as Chinese national Fan Jinghui and Norwegian citizen Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad in its English-language online magazine Dabiq.President Xi Jinping “strongly condemned” ISIS for the killing of Fan, the first known Chinese national to be killed by the group, and the country’s foreign ministry said the Chinese government would “definitely hold the perpetrators accountable.”
But how to respond to Fan’s “cold-blooded and violent” death presents a dilemma for China, which has stayed on the sidelines in the fight against ISIS and has a long-held principle of noninterference in other countries’ affairs.
To date, Beijing has been vague on the question of what it will contribute to the global fight against ISIS and has declined to explicitly offer its support for airstrikes being conducted against the group in Syria.
Norway also condemned the killings.
“We have no grounds to doubt the contents of the photos that have been published,” Foreign Minister Boerge Brende said, according to Reuters.
The U.N. Security Council added their voice to the outrage on Friday, and called on all countries to cooperate with China and Norway to help bring those responsible for the killings to justice.
Teacher turned drifter
It’s not known how Fan was captured by ISIS or whether he was abducted in Iraq, Syria or elsewhere.
Fan doesn’t appear to have a military background and worked as a high school teacher before switching to a career in advertising, according to Chinese state media.
In 2001, according to Chinese magazine Caijing, he told a Chinese radio program that he was a “drifter” but he hoped to win awards for his advertising work.
When news of Fan’s capture first spread in September, neighbors near his last known address told Reuters that he hadn’t lived at the home in many years, and that they didn’t know if he had any family.