China’s official news agency says 109 ethnic Uyghurs that were deported from Thailand to China had been on their way to Turkey, Syria, or Iraq to join the Islamic State militant group.
China’s official Xinhua News Agency says 13 of the Uyghurs fled China after being implicated in terrorist activities.
It also claimed Chinese police have uncovered several gangs that are recruiting for the IS militant group from among Uyghurs -- a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority in China’s western region of Xinjiang.
The mass deportation on July 9 by Thailand has raised international criticism that refugees could face persecution by Chinese authorities.
The United Nations refugee agency called the deportations “a flagrant violation of international law.”
Most of the Uyghurs had been in Thailand for more than a year and had claimed to be Turkish.
They were deported after Thai authorities determined they were Chinese citizens.
In Istanbul, protesters ransacked the Thai consulate after the decision to deport them.
Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters