China lashes out at Dalai Lama's comments on oppression.
China on Tuesday lashed out at the Dalai Lama for making critical comments against China, accusing the group led by him of distorting truth as Tibet marked the 50th anniversary of an uprising that led to the spiritual leader's exile.
At a regular press conference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu defended Beijing's rule over Tibet, saying it has brought democratic reforms in the region.
''The Dalai Lama clique is confusing right and wrong and spreading rumors,'' Ma said in response to the Dalai Lama's remarks about China's oppression made earlier in the day.
''The democratic reforms carried out in 1959 in Tibet got rid of the feudal system that brought politics and religion together and gave people freedom,'' he said.
Beijing says the Dalai Lama is seeking Tibetan independence, although he denies that and says he is seeking greater autonomy for the region.
Tuesday marked the 50th anniversary of the failed uprising against Chinese rule that led to the exile of the Dalai Lama.
In a statement issued Tuesday from Dharamsala, the seat of his government-in-exile in northern India, the Dalai Lama warned that Tibetan religion, culture, language and identity are ''nearing extinction'' and said Tibetan people in China ''are regarded like criminals deserving to be put to death.''
The 73-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader recalled the uprising of March 10, 1959, and said China's crushing of it ''led to the killing, arrests and imprisonment of tens of thousands of Tibetans in the following months.''
He said hundreds of thousands more died in subsequent years of repressive and violent campaigns, thrusting Tibetans ''into such depths of suffering and hardship that they literally experienced hell on earth.''
''These 50 years have brought untold suffering and destruction to the land and people of Tibet,'' he said.