Xinjiang: Bob Woodruff's Journey Inside Alleged ISIS Breeding Ground

ABC News' Bob Woodruff travels to the mysterious and dangerous region of Xinjiang to get an up close look at the alleged breeding ground for ISIS.
18:19 | 03/29/16

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Transcript for Xinjiang: Bob Woodruff's Journey Inside Alleged ISIS Breeding Ground
Driver on the town yet cotton you can see there's police on severance package and number two police are. You can see in this town is it is wild. Small towns in his shoes so far here and she John I would say that this one. He's the most hack. Defendant must learn how new car here. This around me is the old silk road city of costs go. But more than 2000 years of history from here and all throughout the southern region vision John the population is larger Muslim. Call will be ethnic group the leaguers. We'll have more in common with the people on Central Asia and Turkey than they do what their fellow Chinese citizens in the east. We are homeland happens to be a vital region. Rich in resources and a crossroads for trade. Distrust between the leaguers and Beijing has given an opening to violence. This is where China says it is fighting a war against terrorism. That is because of the growing number of attacks here and around the rest of China in the past several years old. Beijing blames on groups of radicalize weakens it. Brazen attack caught on C. Security cameras. On October 28 2013. In Beijing's Tiananmen square. Driven by Weirton plows into a crowd then bursting into flames. Oh we hear extremist group from outside China claimed responsibility. The deadly symbolic act striking at the heart of Chinese power right under Mao's portrait. Years of violence and she and John it reached Beijing's doorstep. And adding to Chinese fears and a handful of wieger exiles have also found their way out of the country joining license. A propaganda video released last year showed an eighty year old former imam. Who allegedly fled she and John to take up arms and Syrians are. And you also. Young wieger school children shouting threats to the Chinese Government. Home Chinese response. Has been to clamp down even harder. Which begs the question. Is the surge in violence driven by local grievances among Wiegert or was at the influence of extremist groups outside China's borders. There are no easy answers but it could placed began is to see the region and need people for ourselves. We traveled to the Tarrant based southern Kenya and meet your heart. A region that borders Central Asia Afghanistan and Pakistan. The region's vital to Beijing's vision of a new training personal role. Our journey will take us from costs guards that China's western border and then deeper into the edge of the top Hamas desert. Some of the most violent clashes have occur. So who are the week. There are ten million readers and China. And they are one of 56 recognized ethnic groups. 80% of the week a population lived here. Karen bass. Government policies have been encouraging the Han Chinese majority in the rest of China. To move west and large numbers. And now the Weaver's only make up 45%. But gene Johns population. Their lives are centered around agriculture's. And livestock. Panic and scramble. Oh. Also trade food. And their fate. Biggest steel lot of growth here is a good thing or bad thing. But yes the people around here it's very difficult question. This at school. Jams. As president hate. With what assays. If. Rob Obama theme. The Chinese Government goes out of its way to promote ethnic units. Recently with song. No good okay. Welcome back somehow with the officials and they Chinese Government we're told. So that's why they're having these ceremonies are trying to welcome the officials from Beijing it's the amount drive and away. There is frustration. Towns are increasingly separated. Beers and high. The economic disparity between them is a growing source of tension. Take language for instance as with the rest of the country Mandarin is essential for the best paying jobs. Better don't want. Normal well as the candidate for office on Yuma crucial behind him to one polite. And sequential fall David Garrity on the water and a plentiful on you know. We'll talk. We'll comment. Chinese. Government without Mandarin many readers just can't compete with the high. And some feel the language is being forced on them by Beijing. What you number made here we met this month businessman from outside Beijing. Appearance in jobs manufacturing desks chairs for wieger schools each of these are off for the students. They made 70000 of these this year allfirst offer should John but he admits ultimately that he value is one weaker worker and a half behind. Why. Me. They. They are incompetent. He cents. On top of this the wieger steal their culture is being controlled by the government because of terrorist years. Com article the town of youngest son is famous for their traditional long ornate times. Because of the recent attacks wieger knife makers cannot make knives on the use. Fearing that they will be used as deadly weapons. And that big anymore. Now she's making these times. A lot shorter than they used to those are now it legal to make a mistake. The growing security presence as an increasing sore spot young weaker men are subject to long random searches. And then there is religion and the state has been distributing anti extremist propaganda around the region. So now or been told that in July it almost every house in this town. Has gotten this poster warning them to stay away from the terrorists. What the government warns is that these are telltale signs of extremism and they claim that extremists tell women to cover their entire face just to prove that there are true Muslims. If someone tells you that joining Jihad will give you access to heaven that person is an extremist. Should be reported to the authority. However even more moderate Islamic expressions of faith and being curtailed. It is illegal for men under sixty to grow beards. And scarves for women are discouraged. Islam cannot be taught in schools. And men under eighteen cannot pray in mosques. China has serious concerns about extremist pouring in from its western border. So we decided. Thrived there. I think historical ancient silk road. Should know that. Myers everybody else. Make their money game. Writes down on the license. License. Okay. Look at this this is what's going on China is building a brand new rail link connecting their country and those writing me on the mound. You can see that China is building a lot spent billions of dollars because this to be a major trade region for them but they've also got growing fears about terrorism. So they really need stability. Slinger the blue sky this is John I'm. It just. Security. He's what we checked one guy at the very top. Garden. Was that it let's check do. And who is just a second chance points Omar. Valley here. There's a careful on highways heading right the Pakistan's. Given the car again. Nobody here look at this. Most of us likes will. In this part of the of the country. So now as we get closer and closer the Afghanistan border you can see. Absolutely no traffic. Well Afghanistan has been asking China to open up the web can pass which is right over there. Because they want to have much more trade to help their country. But China had been resisting it because they're afraid that there might be more terrorists coming through into their own country. So it's a gorgeous place it's going to be in the car. Head towards the Pakistan border. In the past that these trucks are heading throw heading into Pakistan. Is the highest. Paved. Road going through the one country to another guitar. Six passing game. There's that gave Michigan MBA yeah. Checkpoint. Where he's. Yeah. Whose only. Oh yeah. Story coverage it's. A religious we just want to go on and look at this through the phone can. Ten games like are you concerned at all but terrorists coming here with the. So there's they're afraid of terrorists coming over. Problem. He says that he can't answer that question because it could create panic. They just don't. Return back to catch car and then headed east towards the site and one of the deadliest incidents in recent years. Yeah. Or. We've driven all day from cops guarding here this is. The icon when she is one of the most tragic. The night of July 28 2014. Violent clashes engulf several villages on the outskirts of young guns. After a break into a local police station. The official death toll stands at 96. With 35 Han Chinese killed the police claim they gunned down on the fifteen times. Terrorists that. That conflict is still. Someone of a minister in terms of its cause and that's one. The police you can say or are blocking the street almost everywhere we ago. I was George seen about six or seven. Of these checks stops just along the street of this town of Yucca. Overseas wieger activists however claim that the death toll was much higher calling it a massacre. You're still at this city looks like is obviously filled what life. Given the fact that at least a hundred maybe even a thousand people were killed not far away in the suburb. What is it that's causing this isn't a regional agreements. Laurie is in terrorism and the government always. Residents here seem to know about the incident but afraid to do. Welcome. That it did it change your life at all wasn't. It's a big problem. It's. You know what happened there exactly to know exactly what have a. That it does it doesn't want to talk about it most of the people are telling us. They know something happened when they don't want published. After five days on the road as. Shin -- authorities caught up with us. And one eight inches of government. And that car because in its. And now there escorting us around. So now I'm pretending to do a stealthy because the the authorities have now pulled us over in the car asks us questions. So clearly we're being followed in fact we found out information. Today had been following us the last day and a half so clearly they knew where we were never got all of our records. So they know who we are we anyway that's. This system not only do and of itself. Pretending I am. They're following us now on trial in the press this spring it's might be and it's starting. So after about two hours. They finally just turned off into another exit and not following us right now no idea they've called someone else appeared now followers and. What is obvious and should John is that the Chinese believe that their stakes in the region are high. So high. At the movement of journalists are controlled. Even though China's laws officially allow us to travel there freely. The government certainly wants to open borders trade. Let's stop the flow of possible terrorist that they believe could be at their doorsteps will. And caught in the middle a group of people personally inside. And a place where cycles of mistrust and violence. Provides no easy answers.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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