Muslim separatists in western China have carried out 260 attacks in the past decade, killing 160 people and injuring 440, state media reported Tuesday in a rare disclosure. The figures from Zhao Yongchen, a top anti-terrorism official, are among the few specifics ever given by China about its campaign to rid the western Xinjiang region of separatists fighting for an independent state of "East Turkistan." Zhao, deputy director of the Public Security Ministry's Anti-Terrorism Bureau, said attacks and killings came both inside and outside of China, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. China has long claimed that militants among the region's dominant ethnic Uighurs are leading a violent Islamic separatist movement in Xinjiang. The Uighurs are Turkic-speaking Muslims with a language and culture distinct from the majority Chinese. Critics accuse Beijing of using claims of terrorism as an excuse to crack down on peaceful pro-independence sentiment and expressions of Uighur identity. Chinese troops occupied Xinjiang at the end of the communist revolution in 1949, shipping in millions of Chinese migrants and interfering heavily in Uighur religious affairs. Zhao repeated China's accusations that the independence activists were linked to international Muslim terror groups such as Afghanistan's Taliban, al-Qaida, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. China has provided little support for such claims.