Beijing has condemned the execution of a Chinese national by ISIS militants and has vowed to “hold the perpetrators accountable” as media reports have identified the victim as a Beijing ad man who formerly freelanced for state broadcaster CCTV.

“With no regard for human conscience and moral baseline, the terrorist organization still carried out this cold-blooded and violent action,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Thursday. “The Chinese government strongly condemns this inhuman action and will definitely hold the perpetrators accountable.”

isis hostage
Fan Jinghui. (on the left is a prisoner photo released by ISIS, on the right is Fan in high school.

Chinese President Xi Jinping also condemned the hostage execution from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Manila, Xinhua news agency reported.

Hong said Beijing had done everything possible to rescue Fan Jinghui, who was kidnapped and executed along with Norwegian Ole-Johan Grimsgaard-Oftsad.

ISIS announced the execution of the two hostages through its English-language magazine Dabiq on Wednesday after failing to secure ransom payments demanded by the group in early September.

Several Chinese media outlets including the Beijing News said Fan is a 50-year-old teacher turned advertising consultant. He revealed in a radio interview in 2001 that he once worked as an uncontracted production assistant for CCTV.

According to a transcript of the interview published by Sina news portal on January 15, 2001 Fan said his love for freedom had driven him to leave a stable teaching job and start work as a freelancer in the 1990s.

“To some extent,” Fan said, “I wanted to deliberately pursue this feeling of insecurity, because feeling unsafe gave me pleasure.”

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.