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China-disappeared Panchen Lama remembered on his 34th birthday with prayers, calls for his release

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(TibetanReview.net, Apr26’23) – Tibetans and supporters across the free world marked on Apr 25 the 34th birthday of China-disappeared 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Ckoekyi Nyima, Tibet’s second most prominent religious figure, with protests, prayers, and calls on Beijing for information on his wellbeing, whereabouts, and his immediate release. He was taken by the Chinese government, with his family, on May 17, 1995, just days after the Dalai Lama proclaimed his recognition of the then six-year-old boy as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama.

There has been no visible information on him and his family ever since, with China insisting he was doing fine and did not wish to be disturbed while denying he is the Panchen Lama, having installed another person, Gyaincain Norbu, in his place in 1995 itself. Repeated calls from UN human rights experts and others for many years for credible information on his conditions and immediate release have yielded no result but only occasional empty assurances from Beijing.

This time 30 Senators of the Spanish Parliament have added their international voices to the call for information on the 11th Panchen Lama and his immediate release.

The Senators, who are members of the Inter-Parliamentary Group for Tibet, have called on China to provide proof, not just make claims, that the Panchen Lama is alive, and account for his whereabouts. They wanted China to respect the fundamental freedoms of the Panchen Lama, who would now be 34 years old if alive, in line with its international commitments.

The inter-parliamentary group for Tibet in the Senate was established and launched in February this year at the initiative of Senator Robert Masih Nahar.

In its statement for the occasion, the Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) said: “Beijing’s abduction of the 11th Panchen Lama and the selection of Gyaltsen Norbu as their choice of the Panchen Lama are solely politically motivated acts aimed at controlling the selection of the next Dalai Lama and legitimizing its illegal occupation of Tibet. The incommunicado detention of the 11th Panchen Lama by the PRC for the past 27 years constitutes a gross violation of multiple human rights protected by various international treaties and laws, many of which China is legally obliged to respect, promote, and protect.”

In Dharamshala, India, where the CTA, the Tibetan government in exile, is based, hundreds of Tibetans gathered in the main Buddhist temple Tsuglagkhang to offer prayers for the well-being of the 11th Panchen Lama. The event was jointly organized by the Tibetan Women’s Association, Students for a Free Tibet, Tibetan Youth Congress and National Democratic Party of Tibet.

Likewise, Tibetans and supporters across India as well as Europe, the Americas, Australia and other regions held protest rallies and prayer meetings to mark the occasion. In New York City, the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress NY-NJ chapter organized a protest demonstration in front of the Chinese Consulate, calling for immediate release of the 11th Panchen Lama, reported freshheadline.com Apr 26.

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