(BBC) — When so-called Islamic State announced on June 8 that it had killed a Chinese man and woman in their mid-twenties in Pakistan’s most volatile province, many would have assumed they were two of the thousands of workers that Beijing has sent to the country in the last few years.
China is investing more than $55bn (£43bn) in Pakistan, a key beneficiary of its grand plan to connect Asia and Europe with a new Silk Road paid for by Beijing.
Such an ambitious project involves risk, and China is building major infrastructure projects in Balochistan, a Pakistani province home to a long-running separatist insurgency and an array of militant and jihadist groups.
But Meng Lisi and Li Xinheng were not there to work on Chinese-funded projects.
They were in the provincial capital, Quetta, on a clandestine mission: to spread the word of Christianity in the unlikeliest and most dangerous of places in conservative Muslim Pakistan.