By Shannon Tiezzi
Xinjiang’s party secretary tells reporters some Uyghurs have joined Islamic State, raising security concerns.
Xinjiang’s Party secretary told journalists on Tuesday that the Islamic State (IS) is successfully recruiting Uyghurs to join its ranks. Secretary Zhang Chunxian made the remarks in a press conference held on the sidelines of China’s National People’s Congress.
China’s Global Times had previously reported that around 300 Chinese nationals were fighting alongside IS. Last September, the Iraqi Defense Ministry claimed to have captured a Chinese national involved in the fighting. However, this was the first time a Chinese official publicly drew a link between Xinjiang extremists and IS.
Zhang said that Islamic State “has a huge international influence and Xinjiang can’t keep aloof from it and we have already been affected,” according to the BBC. Zhang called IS a global threat and said international efforts would be required to face the problem. So far, however, the U.S. has had little luck convincing China to support its military operations against IS.
Read the full story at The Diplomat