(TibetanReview.net, Apr28’20) – Responding to a question raised in parliament, Belgium’s Foreign Minister Mr Philippe Goffin has on Apr 25 expressed shared concern over the human rights situation in Chinese ruled Tibet and on the enforced disappearance of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the Dalai Lama-recognized 11th Panchen Lama, for 25 years.
Responding to an Apr 8 question raised by Mr Samuel Cogolati, member of Belgian Federal Parliament, the minister has made it clear that it was up to the Tibetan religious community alone to designate the Panchen Lama, Tibet’s second most prominent religious figure, without interference from the political authorities.
The minister’s response was a reiteration of Belgium’s stand made known in response to a previous question on the issue of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.
The minister has also spoken of various ways in which Belgium had, bilaterally and multilaterally, raised the issue of Tibet with China.
Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was kidnapped by the Chinese government with his family on May 17, 1995, three days after the Dalai Lama announced the then six-year old boy as the reincarnation of the late 10th Panchen Lama. He has not been seen or heard from ever since despite numerous calls from UN human rights agencies, international human rights organizations and political leaders from across the world.
China installed another Tibetan boy, Gyaltsen Norbu, as the 11th Panchen Lama, and has been grooming him in Beijing to play the role on its behalf.
The exile Tibetan administration at Dharamsala, India, has launched a month-long global advocacy initiative through its overseas Offices of Tibet for information on the 11th Panchen Lama and for his release. The campaign began on Apr 25, his birthday in 1989, and concludes on May 17, the day China disappeared him in 1995.