(TibetanReview.net, Apr27’22) – No one outside the top Chinese leadership knows anything about the fate or whereabouts of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the boy recognized by Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in 1995 when he was six years old as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama. He is Tibet’s second most prominent religious figure. On Apr 26, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin reiterated China’s bald claim that he was living a normal life. A normal life cut off from the community to which he, more than most of anyone else, belongs?
Wang’s claim came at a regular press briefing in response to a statement put out by the US State Department the day before, urging China to disclose the whereabouts and the well-being of the Dalai Lama-recognized 11th Panchen Lama.
After indicating it was nobody’s business to want to know this information, Wang has said “the so-called reincarnated child is just an ordinary Chinese citizen living a normal life. He and his family do not want their normal life to be disturbed by others,” according to China’s official Xinhua news agency Apr 26.
Wang has also attacked the Dalai Lama, calling him “an anti-China separatist under the cloak of religion”.
He has claimed that “27 years ago, when he was abroad, the Dalai Lama took the liberty of declaring a child to be the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama in order to carry out anti-China separatist political hype to the detriment of religious rituals and in disregard of historical conventions.”
“This is illegal and invalid,” he has said, making it clear the atheist Chinese government alone could determine any issue related to Tibetan Buddhist traditions and practices.
After saying that “for the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, the Panchen Lama and other grand Living Buddhas, a complete set of methods and procedures have been established over the centuries,” Wang has made it clear that “the religious rituals and historical conventions, as well as the Chinese laws, need to be complied with in this process.”
In what amounts to telling the US to keep off the issue, Wang has said the US side should fully understand and respect what he has claimed were the wishes of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family to remain disappeared, “rather than taking the opportunity to engage in political manipulations and attack and discredit China.”