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ICC Note:

As China seeks more answers regarding a Christian couple killed in Pakistan, new details regarding the couple’s presence in the country continue to come out. According to Pakistan’s Interior Minister, the couple was in Pakistan on business visas but were actually engaged in illegal preaching of Christianity. This, according to Pakistan, led to their kidnapping and murder by ISIS militants operating in Pakistan. Will more details regarding the couple continue to come out? 

06/14/2017 Pakistan (Hindustan Times) – As China searches for answers about the execution of two of its nationals in Pakistan, experts have said that blaming South Korean missionaries for their deaths amounted to misleading the Chinese public.

Beijing said on Wednesday it would cooperate with Islamabad to verify whether the two Chinese citizens kidnapped and killed in Balochistan were involved in illegal preaching activities.

Though Pakistan’s interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has confirmed the death of the Chinese nationals, Beijing has stopped short of an official confirmation and the foreign ministry has said it is waiting for more information from Islamabad.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang did not directly comment on reports in the Chinese state media – which took a cue from Pakistan’s interior ministry – that alleged Lee Zingyang, 24, and Meng Lisi, 26, were preaching Christianity in Quetta under the guise of learning Urdu. The reports also alleged that South Korean missionaries had misguided the Chinese nationals to preach Christianity in Pakistan.

“Instead of engaging in any business activity, they went to Quetta and under the garb of learning (the) Urdu language from a Korean national (and) were actually engaged in preaching,” the Pakistani interior ministry said in a statement.

The murders, claimed by the Islamic State, have raised questions about the security of Chinese workers in Pakistan, central to the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative. The centerpiece of the new Silk Route plan, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, passes through insurgency-hit Balochistan.

The kidnapped man and woman were part of a group of 13 Chinese nationals brought to Quetta in November by a South Korean who runs a school. Language education was merely a front for conducting religious activities, the Shanghaiist website quoted a Global Times report as saying.

Experts said the move to blame South Korean missionaries for allegedly “misleading and misguiding” Chinese youngsters into preaching Christianity in foreign countries, in fact, amounted to misleading the Chinese people.

“Most Chinese Christians have become Christian through Chinese evangelists. It has been very difficult for foreign citizens to proselytise in China. China does not have a visa category for religious clergy or missionaries,” Yang Fenggang, director of the Centre on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University, told Hindustan Times over email.

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