Chinese leader says 'We cannot stay out of the affair'
Islamic State members have been arrested after returning home to China's predominantly Muslim Xinjiang region, highlighting the jihadist group's far-reaching influence.
"I believe there are extremists from Xinjiang who have joined Islamic State," the Communist Party's chief in the region, Zhang Chunxian, said, according to the South China Morning Post.
"We have recently arrested some groups who have returned after joining," Zhang said during a meeting at the National People's Congress, which is now holding its annual session in Beijing.
Over the past year, about 300 Chinese citizens-many of them from Xinjiang--are believed to have traveled through Malaysia to join ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The militant group controls large swaths of territory in the region, which it rules with an iron fist.
Since then, three Chinese nationals have been killed after attempting to leave the group, the Chinese Global Times reported earlier this year. One man was shot in Syria after trying to escape and return to school in Turkey, and two others were beheaded along with 11 others from six countries who attempted to desert the group.