Beijing says it will punish ISIS militants after the group claimed in its Dabiq magazine that it had executed Chinese national Fan Jinghui, as well as Norway's Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad, CNN reports. Dabiq says the two hostages, which ISIS put up "for sale" in September for ransom, were "executed after being abandoned by the [infidel] nations and organizations." President Xi Jinping "strongly condemned" what was said to be the death of the first Chinese citizen killed by ISIS. "Terrorists are the common enemy of humankind," Xi said Thursday, per the AP. "China firmly opposes terrorists of all forms and resolutely cracks down on any crimes that challenge the foundation of human civilization." Meanwhile, Norway PM Erna Solberg didn't confirm the killings, but told a press conference "we have no reasons to doubt it," Quartz reports.
A statement from China's foreign ministry said the government had tried to save Fan and would "hold the perpetrators accountable" for this "cold-blooded and violent action." But some say China, known for a hands-off approach to other countries' conflicts, may be grandstanding and not really want to risk an attack on its own soil by catching ISIS' eye. "It seems most likely that the Chinese government will continue to stay on the sidelines," a professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University tells CNN. The AP, which notes it's not clear when or where the men were captured, identifies 48-year-old Grimsgaard-Ofstad as a political philosophy grad student. Fan, a former schoolteacher and self-described "wanderer" (and who the Wall Street Journal said "dreamed of advertising fame"), is now being mourned on social media. "Heaven and earth condemn them," one Weibo user posted, per Quartz. Another added: "Whoever killed my compatriot, he must also be killed." (ISIS suggests it has NYC and DC in its sights.)