CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - China is built on lies and its officials are hypocrites, the Dalai Lama said on Saturday, speaking via videophone after he was prevented by visa problems from going to celebrate Archbishop Desmond Tutu's birthday celebrations.

"Some Chinese officials describe me as a demon," the Tibetan spiritual leader said to loud applause as he put his index fingers either side of his head to mimic devil's horns.

"In reality, for the communist totalitarian system ... hypocrisy (and) telling lies has unfortunately become part of their lives."

He said the Chinese government was "uncomfortable" with people who tell the truth.

(Reporting by Shafiek Tassiem; Editing by Phumza Macanda; and Louise Ireland)