China's state media on Wednesday declared Tibet an earthly paradise, rejecting the Dalai Lama's claims that it had become a "hell on earth," and heaped scorn on the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.
The vitriol in the official media came a day after the tense anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising passed in Tibet amid a Chinese security lockdown.
"This 'hell on earth' is precisely 'paradise on earth' for the ordinary Tibetans," the official Xinhua news agency said in one of series of commentaries.
They were issued in response to a speech Tuesday by the Dalai Lama to mark the 50th anniversary.
The Tibetan spiritual leader, who fled into exile shortly after the uprising was put down, said heavy-handed Chinese control since then had turned Tibet into a "hell on earth" and brought "untold suffering and destruction."
Amid the increased tensions, the US State Department Tuesday urged Beijing to open a dialogue with the Dalai Lama and expressed concern over "harmful" Chinese policies in the Himalayan region.
But China's media signalled Beijing would maintain its hardline stance against the Dalai Lama which has drawn worldwide criticism over the years, calling his speech "gibberish" and "poles apart from truth."
"Since their exile, the Dalai Lama and his followers have never stopped pursuing activities to split Tibet from China and restore their theocratic rule despite his claims to the opposite," Xinhua said.
China accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking independence, which he denies, saying he wants only limited autonomy for Tibetans and an end to Chinese "repression."
"Like a child trying to draw attention from other people by crying, the marginalised old monk started a round of false accusations which were rhetorically inflammatory and demagogic but untenable in fact," a Xinhua commentary said.
While saying it remains open to talks with the Dalai Lama, China regularly denounces him as a "wolf in monk's robes" and rejects his calls for reconciliation as a "separatist" subterfuge.