On Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry announced Friday that a Chinese national, who was reported as being held hostage by the Islamic State (IS) group, appears to be one of its missing citizens. Earlier this week, IS, which controls territory in Iraq and Syria, published two photographs of men whom they called “prisoners” in its English-language magazine Dabiq. In the magazine, the militant group indicated that one of the hostages was from Norway while the other was a Chinese man identified as Fan Jingui. It shows Fan, who has been identified as a 50-year-old “freelance consultant” from Beijing, against a black background wearing a yellow top. He provides a telegram number for anyone who wishes to pay his ransom. It remains unclear where he is being held and the magazine did not give a ransom amount.
Speaking on Friday to reporters at a regular press briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei disclosed that “after initial verification of the relevant media reports of the two hostages, one of them matches the characteristics of a Chinese citizen who has gone missing overseas.” Hong has disclosed that China had launched an emergency response mechanism and reiterated that the Chinese government is firmly opposed to violence against innocent civilians.
In the past, Chinese citizens have been held hostage overseas before, including in Africa and in Pakistan. According to Pakistani officials, a Chinese tourist kidnapped in Pakistan by the Taliban more than a year ago was freed in August, as a result of an intelligence operation.