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China’s efforts to rescue hostage from IS thwarted by airstrikes

world Updated: Nov 20, 2015 16:39 IST
Chinese citizen

China had tried to rescue its citizen Fan Jinghui but its efforts could not materialised due to ongoing airstrikes by Russia and France, a former war journalist said on Thursday.(AFP File Photo)

China’s efforts to rescue its citizen, who was executed by the Islamic State, were interrupted by the recent airstrikes in Iraq and Syria by Russia and France.

Qiu Yongzheng, a former war journalist, who now work for a Chinese think-tank, said that IS had made a ransom request to Fan Jinghui’s family and relevant departments in the Chinese government through different channels and China had been communicating with it.

“We even knew that the hostage was located approximately in the Anbar province of Iraq, and the rescue effort had made certain progress,” Qiu was quoted by Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post as saying. “But recently countries such as Russia and France started heavy airstrikes against IS, which upset the group’s overall arrangement and original plans,” he said.

“This has led to the interruption of channels to rescue the hostage. Since IS did not receive the money, they killed him,” he said.

The news of Fan’s capture was reported in September, when IS announced that he and a second captive, Norwegian Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad, were both “for sale”.

China’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the government had made “all-out efforts” to rescue Fan.

It strongly condemned the killings of Fan and Grimsgaard-Ofstad, which were announced by IS on Wednesday.

Qiu said there had been a political agenda behind the timing of the killings of the hostages.

“They must have considered the political aspect,” he said. “The killing of the hostages happened just around the time of the G20 summit and Apec (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit.

IS is declaring its political agenda to the world,” he said. However, Qiu stressed that failing to obtain the ransom was the main reason IS had killed the men.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has strongly condemned the IS group for killing a Chinese national and expressed his deep sympathy to the victim’s family.

“Terrorism is the common enemy of human beings,” Xi saidon the sidelines of the 23rd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ meeting in the capital city of the Philippines.

China firmly opposes terrorism of all forms and will resolutely crack down on any terrorist crime that challenges the bottom line of human civilisation, he said.