US State Department calls for immediate release of Tibet’s top religious figure

April 29, 2018 1:42 am0 commentsViews: 47
Buddhist nuns carry placards during a protest march demanding the release of religious leader Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama, who was put under house arrest by the Chinese authorities on this day in 1995. Panchen Lama is the second most important religious leader in Tibetan Buddhism, after the Dalai Lama.  ( Photo courtesy: Ashwini Bhatia/AP)

Buddhist nuns carry placards during a protest march demanding the release of religious leader Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama, who was put under house arrest by the Chinese authorities on this day in 1995. Panchen Lama is the second most important religious leader in Tibetan Buddhism, after the Dalai Lama. ( Photo courtesy: Ashwini Bhatia/AP)

(TibetanReview.net, Apr28, 2018) – The US State Department has on Apr 26 called for immediate release of the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun choekyi Nyima, Tibet’s second prominent religious figure after the Dalai Lama. He was taken away by the Chinese government, along with his family, on May 17, 1995, three days after Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, declared his finding of him as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama who had passed away in 1989. He was six at the time.

Issuing a statement just a day after his birthday, Heather Nauert, State Department Spokesperson, said, “We call on China to release Gedhun Choekyi Nyima immediately and to uphold its international commitments to promote religious freedom for all persons.”

The State Department has also expressed concern over the ongoing destruction of Tibetan Buddhist communities and implored China to uphold its international commitments to promote religious freedom. The statement said, “The United States remains concerned that Chinese authorities continue to take steps to eliminate the religious, linguistic, and cultural identity of Tibetans, including their ongoing destruction of communities of worship, such as the Larung Gar and Yachen Gar monasteries.”

Welcoming the State Department statement, President Lobsang Sangay of the Central Tibetan Administration has said, “The Tibetan people and Buddhist faith community around the world have been celebrating the Panchen Lama’s birthday in absentia for the last 23 years. Despite the two long decades of campaigning for his freedom, we remain resolute in our commitment to working for his release.”

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