Beijing, March 10: A top official of China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region said on Tuesday that some people from the northwest province have been joining the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group after crossing the border illegally, the China Daily reported.
"The organisation (IS) has growing international influence and Xinjiang is affected by it. We've busted a terrorist cell in Xinjiang run by those who have returned from fighting with the organisation," Zhang Chunxian, chief of the Communist Party of China in Xinjiang, was quoted as saying.
"Some people in Hotan prefecture in southern Xinjiang have been influenced by the IS," said Eziz Musar, the prefecture's commissioner. "That influence is also felt in other parts of the region."
He added that the internet has been playing a part in fanning hatred and propagating terror.
"Authorities have to put this extremist content on their watch list and enforce the law by accelerating the crackdown on those who spread such illegal information," Eziz said.
The overall situation in Xinjiang remained stable and controllable, said another senior official.
"Violent terror attacks have provoked strong condemnation and opposition in the region," said Shohrat Zakir, chairman of the Xinjiang regional government, at a panel discussion during the ongoing annual session of the National People's Congress.
The Chinese government attributes acts of violence in Xinjiang, an area inhabited by Muslim ethnicities like Uyghurs related to peoples of Central Asia, to Islamic terrorist groups seeking to create an independent East Turkestan in the region.
However, Uyghur groups in exile claim that the clashes were a result of repression by the authorities, who are mostly comprised of China's majority Han ethnicity, against their people.
Hundreds of people have died in ethnic clashes in Xinjiang after tensions aggravated in 2009.