Xinjiang residents join Islamic State radicals
A top official from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region confirmed for the first time that Xinjiang residents have joined the radical group Islamic State.
"Some Xinjiang residents have crossed the border illegally to join IS," said Zhang Chunxian, the region's top leader.
"We recently broke up a terrorist cell run by those who returned from fighting with the group," Zhang said at a news conference on Tuesday on the sidelines of the annual National People's Congress session.
Xinjiang has been hit by religious extremism, leading to an increasing number of terrorist attacks in the region.
Adudulrekep Tumniaz, president of the Xinjiang Islamic Institute, said the region has more than 12 million Muslims, making up 52 percent of China's Muslim population.