(TibetanReview.net, Feb18’23) – While the whereabouts or, indeed, even the very existence of the 11th Panchen Lama, Tibet’s second most prominent religious figure, continues to remain unknown following Beijing’s disappearance of him on May 17, 1995, China has on Feb 17 reminded his replacement, Gyaltsen Norbu, appointed by it, of his duty of loyalty to President Xi Jinping, the Communist Party of China (CPC) headed by him, and the Chinese state, in that order.
Days before Tibetans were to begin celebrating Losar, their traditional New Year, on Feb 21, senior CPC official Shi Taifeng met with Panchen Erdeni Chos-kyi rGyal-po on Feb 17, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency.
Extending Tibetan new year greetings to him and all Tibetan Buddhism believers, Shi, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, has acknowledged the achievements made by “Panchen Rinpoche” in various aspects.
He has then expressed hope that “Panchen Rinpoche” can firmly keep in mind the earnest expectations of General Secretary Xi Jinping, and maintain a high degree of unity with the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core ideologically, politically and in action.
He has also expressed the hope that “Panchen Rinpoche” can actively make contributions to safeguarding national unity and ethnic solidarity, and advancing national rejuvenation on all fronts, while delivering new achievements in upholding the principle of developing religions in the Chinese context, and advancing the adaptation of Tibetan Buddhism to the socialist society.
The report noted that “Panchen Rinpoche” had, in his turn, undertaken to “firmly bear in mind the earnest instructions issued by General Secretary Xi Jinping, conscientiously study and implement the guiding principles of the 20th CPC National Congress, and actively contribute to aligning Tibetan Buddhism to the Chinese context and socialist society.”
Gyaltsen Norbu gets this reminder about this time each year from a relevant top CPC official.