China has denied that the dental assistant killed on Wednesday evening in a Karachi clinic is a Chinese national. Two more Chinese nationals were injured in the shooting when a man posing as a patient opened fire in the HU Dental Clinic.
The usually quick-to-respond Chinese government did not issue a statement on the attack for a full 24-hours, neither did the State-owned media carry a news report about it.
One day after the attack, responding to an AFP correspondent, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the victim was not Chinese. Wang said: “We express condolences for the victim and sympathies to the injured. To my knowledge, the victim you mentioned was not a Chinese citizen”.
However, the spokesman did not comment on the nationality of the dentist couple, reportedly possessing a dual Chinese-Pakistani citizenship.
There’re mistaken reports that victims are Chinese nationals. All have Pakistan citizenships. Dr. Hu had been practicing there for decade. They seem to be part of a small Chinese-Pakistani community that moved there aft the Partition pic.twitter.com/WdqK3xlCMs
— Carl Zha (@CarlZha) September 29, 2022
Surprisingly, the vociferous Global Times and Chinese Xinhua news agency did not even carry news of the attack. In earlier attacks on Chinese nationals, the Global Times has raised the pitch asking Pakistan to take stern action against the perpetrators.
The Sindhudesh People’s Army (SPA) – a little-known Sindhi militant group claimed responsibility for the attack. Spokesperson Suri Sindhi also warned China to stop investing in Sindh. The statement said that future attacks by the SPA will be worse.
The three Chinese origin people were shot at by a pistol-wielding patient who sat waiting for his turn and opened fire on Dr Richard Hu, his wife Mrs Phen Teyin and assistant Ronald Raymond Chou with a pistol. The husband-wife duo is in hospital while Ronald was killed in the firing.
Karachi, Pakistan’s industrial and financial capital, has seen a series of deadly attacks against the Chinese this year. Most of the attacks have been carried out by Baloch rebel groups seeking an independent Balochistan. However, at least one of the attacks has been carried out by a Sindhi group as well.
A bomb blast targeted at the Pakistani Coast Guard in a Karachi market in May this year had killed one person and injured 13. This was one of the few attacks believed to have been carried out by the Sindhi rebels in Karachi. Insurgent group, the Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army (SRA) which took responsibility for the blast is leading a campaign against the settling in of “outsiders” from other parts of Pakistan in Sindh.
Most of the other attacks in Karachi, many aimed at the Chinese, have been planned by Baloch insurgents. One of the biggest one this year was the suicide bombing on April 26 by Shari Baloch, a female suicide bomber of the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), that killed three Chinese teachers of the Confucius Institute and their Pakistani driver.
The Baloch insurgents are opposed to the $62 China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which they term as exploitative as it allegedly mines natural wealth from their mineral-rich region for the benefit of Pakistan and China.
Regarding the Chinese dental clinic blast, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah called it an attack on the “Chinese people” and ordered extra security for the already vulnerable Chinese nationals in Pakistan.