At the time of writing there is some confusion regarding the deaths of two young Chinese in Pakistan. But this much is clear. Meng Li Si and Li Xinheng were abducted on May 24th in Quetta, the capital city of Baluchistan province in Pakistan. Pakistan authorities confirmed their deaths saying they had been abducted by the Islamic State. The Pakistan source also claimed that they were “preachers” who were aged 24 and 26. They were teachers in a local private school.
It was also reported that the two victims and another 11 Chinese arrived in Pakistan holding business visas. The owner of the organization for which they worked is a Korean Christian who was reported to be carrying out local missionary work. He was said to be still in Pakistan.
A friend of theirs who was interviewed stated that "They came to Pakistan for work. They were close friends." She said that the two and the other 13 Chinese taught Chinese in the Korean-run language institute. Each was paid 30,000 rupees (about US$286) a month. She explained that they studied Urdu recently because they had to do so as part of their teaching requirements. Their language institute didn't have a name and was set up in a house beside a white mosque without any mark or advertisement. "I have never seen people kinder than them," the friend said.
Chinese state media took a very unsympathetic view, especially Global Times. They claim government sources laid heavy blame on the Korean missionary who allegedly organized the mission work, as well as on the two young Chinese missionaries themselves, insinuating they were naïvely duped into going to Pakistan. A Global Times report noted that this incident should “serve as a lesson” to other Chinese.
However, Steve Schirmer writing in “West Courtyard” makes two powerful points:
Firstly, Schirmer writes, “I want to address (the matter of) their business visa. The Pakistani government seems to be focusing one of their criticisms on the reality that these two people were living there on a questionable business visa. Whether their visa was legitimate or not is not the cause of their death. They did not die because they lived on a questionable business visa. Mr. Li and Ms Lu were targeted, kidnapped, and murdered because they were declaring the message of Jesus Christ to Muslims. That is why they were killed. ISIL does not care if they did business or studied the Urdu language. They only cared that these two and others were in Pakistan to advance the message of the Christ.”
Secondly, Schirmer comments: “For many years, the Christian community, especially in the West, has been saying something to the effect that Chinese believers are better equipped to serve in places like Pakistan than Western Christians. That has never been proven and is unfortunately proven false by this event…. The presence of a Chinese Christian is not necessarily more effective than their Western counterpart because they are Chinese. The Chinese face the same risks that any one of us may face.” (Sources ChinaSource; West Courtyard; Reuters; China Christian Daily.)
Prayer topics (from Steve Schirmer)
We need to pray for China and its church.
We need to pray for the loved ones of Mr. Li and Ms. Lu.
We need to pray and ask God to give them strength to persevere and not give up.
We need to challenge the Chinese church to pray for ISIL and ask God to raise up modern day Apostle Pauls from within the ISIL ranks.