(TibetanReview.net, May02’19) – Police in eastern part of Chinese ruled Tibet have arrested on Apr 29 four Tibetans for praying for and demanding the release of the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima who has remained disappeared since the government took him away in 1995 as a 6-year-old boy. One of them, a physically handicapped person unable to speak, has since been released while the remaining three were set for trial in 15 days, reported the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Apr 30.
The report said Wangchen, 20, the group’s alleged leader, had recited prayers and shouted slogans while taking part in a cleaning drive on Apr 29 on a hill behind a monastery in Sershul (Chinese: Shiqu) County of Kardze (Ganzi) Prefecture, Sichuan Province. The cleaning drive was launched by local Tibetans some years ago to mark the 11th Panchen Lama’s birthday of Apr 25.
“During an offering ceremony and the hanging of prayer flags on the hill behind Sershul Monastery, he shouted slogans calling for the release of the Panchen Lama and for the reunion of the Panchen Lama and the Dalai Lama in Tibet,” the report quoted a local source as saying, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The other three, including two named Lobsang and Yonten, were not known to have played any role in the protest but were held as accomplices, along with the unnamed handicapped person, the report said.
Other Tibetans, who happened to be at the scene hunting for caterpillar fungus, were reported to have cautioned Wangchen against shouting slogans as he may get arrested for it.
But he remained defiant, telling them that more than 150 Tibetans had self-immolated in protests against Chinese rule and “all Tibetans should share their burden and responsibility”.
The report said Wangchen, an unschooled local resident, is a well-known jockey who takes part in horseracing competitions in Sershul, Zatoe, Golok and Kegudo regions. He was arrested with his friends after he returned to the base of the hill.
Chinese police were stated to have quickly confiscated the men’s cell phones to prevent the news of their arrest from spreading.
The Panchen Lama is Tibet’s second most prominent religious figure, after Dalai Lama. The latter proclaimed Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama on May 14, 1994. The Chinese government took him away with his family after three days and he has not been seen ever since. China then appointed another boy, Gyaltsen Norbu, as its 11th Panchen Lama.