A shockingly high number of ISIS recruits have come from this unlikely country

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As large as it is, China goes to incredible lengths to maintain civil order and govern its people.

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Given not only its size, but its growing population, China would understandably be hard-pressed to have complete control over its citizens. When it comes to hampering the spread of ISIS' influence within its borders, however, this fact is starting to become apparent.

Citing a report from the US think tank New America, AFP reports that over 100 people may have already joined the terrorist group.

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What Falluja looks like after years of ISIS occupation
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What Falluja looks like after years of ISIS occupation
A view is seen of streets in Falluja after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, Iraq, June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
A view of streets in Falluja, Iraq, June 26, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Destroyed buildings from clashes are seen on the outskirt of Falluja, Iraq, June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Damaged buildings are seen from clashes in Falluja, Iraq, after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad
Damaged mosque is seen in Falluja, Iraq, after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad
A view of a street in Falluja, Iraq, after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad
Members of Iraqi government forces celebrate on a street in Falluja after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, Iraq, June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
A member of Iraqi counterterrorism forces walks with his weapon in Falluja, Iraq, June 26, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
A member of the Iraqi counterterrorism forces stands by an Islamic State militants weapons factory in Falluja, Iraq, June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A member of the Iraqi security forces looks at explosives abandoned by Islamic State militants at a school in Falluja, Iraq, June 25, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Rocket-propelled grenades left behind by Islamic State militants are seen at a school, following clashes in Falluja, Iraq, June 25, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
A book belonging to Islamic State militants is seen in Falluja after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, Iraq, June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Burnt out prison cells belonging to Islamic State militants are seen in Falluja after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, Iraq, June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A burnt out prison cell belonging to Islamic State militants is seen in Falluja after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, Iraq, June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Members of the Shi'ite Badr Organisation inspect a factory abandoned by Islamic State militants, in Falluja, Iraq, June 25, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
A member of the Iraqi security forces tears up a signboard of the Islamic State militants in Falluja, Iraq, after government forces recaptured the city from Islamic State militants, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Iraqi counterterrorism forces pose for a picture in Falluja, Iraq, June 26, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A fighter from the Iraqi Shi'ite Badr Organization holds his rifle in an underground tunnel built by Islamic State fighters on the outskirts of Falluja, Iraq, May 28, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
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Referring to the information coming from ISIS' registration documents that were leaked by a defector, Beijing claims that this recruitment stems from the Uighurs — a predominantly Muslim ethnic group from the western China of Xinjiang.

Of the 3,500 foreign recruits mentioned in the leak, 114 came from Xinjiang, which potentially makes the region the fifth largest source of ISIS personnel worldwide.

According to New America, it might not be hard to see why. After what many call "China's 9/11" — a deadly knife attack at a train station that claimed 31 lives — Chinese officials have started to crack down on religious groups that they suspect to have extremist connotations. Chinese authorities have also discouraged the practice of some religions, even outright banning the practice of what it deems to be extremist religious

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Critics point to the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) tendency to paint pictures with a broad brush. In a study by New America, author Patrik Meyer writes, "A problem with Beijing's label of religious extremism is that ... it includes common practices followed by moderate Muslims."

"It can include activities such as praying, wearing Islamic headscarves, growing beards, learning about Islam, fasting, deciding not to drink alcohol, and even going to mosques," the study continued.

According to the same study, in order to circumvent legal violations, the CCP avoids potential criticism by enacting laws that ban any religious activity that wasn't already explicitly legal.

A suspected Uighur from China's troubled far-western region of Xinjiang, rests on a ground inside a temporary shelter after being detained at the immigration regional headquarters near the Thailand-Malaysia border in Hat Yai, Songkla March 14, 2014.  REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha Junko Kimura/Getty Images

In an AFP quote, New America explained that this "could be a push factor driving people to leave the country and look elsewhere for a sense of 'belonging.'"

The fact that the Uighur Muslims suffer from a wide economic gap when compared to the ethnic majority of Han Chinese may exacerbate this sentiment. The individuals listed in the ISIS documents, some of them as young as 10-years-old, were also found to be less educated, compared to their alleged cohorts from different nations.

Analysts are quick to point out that there is reason to doubt China's accusations of the rising radicalization in this region of China — a study has found that these ISIS recruits had no prior involvement with any terrorist organization before leaving the country.

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