China today urged the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to "put aside his illusions" about talks on Tibet's future, and accused him of insincerity and covertly pushing for independence, rather than autonomy.
China has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since troops "peacefully liberated" the region in 1950. The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule.
Representatives of the Nobel Peace laureate held rounds of talks with China until 2010, but formal dialogue has stalled amid leadership changes in Beijing and a crackdown in Tibet.
In a lengthy white paper released by the official Xinhua news agency, the government said that having failed to use violence to achieve their goals, the Dalai Lama and his supporters had little understanding of modern Tibet and "a sentimental attachment to the old theocratic feudal serfdom".
"The only sensible alternative is for the Dalai Lama and his supporters to accept that Tibet has been part of China since antiquity, to abandon their goals of dividing China and seeking independence for Tibet," it said.
"The central government hopes that the Dalai Lama will put aside his illusions in his remaining years and face up to reality," the government said in the white paper, released in both English and Chinese.
Beijing has been disappointed that the Dalai Lama remains committed to the Middle Way which he says merely seeks genuine autonomy for the Himalayan region and this is something China cannot accept as its real goal is still independence, it added.
Officials of the Tibetan government in exile, based in India, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Dalai Lama denies espousing violence and says he only wants genuine autonomy for Tibet, though China has repeatedly said he is insincere.
At the annual meeting of China's largely rubber stamp parliament last month, senior officials again lambasted the Dalai Lama for daring to suggest he may not reincarnate when he dies.