(TibetanReview.net, Apr27’19) – As Tibetans across the free world marked on Apr 25 the 30th birthday of the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, disappeared by the government of China in 1995, US Congressman James P McGovern (D-MA), Co-Chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and Chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, has issued a statement, calling for his immediate freedom and respect for the religious freedom of the Tibetan people.
“In honor of his birthday, I again call on the Chinese government to free the true Panchen Lama immediately and without conditions and to uphold its international obligation to respect the religious freedom of all persons,” he said in his statement.
At Dharamsala in India, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) released a 2019 edition of a 1995 book titled “The Panchen Lama Lineage: How Reincarnation is Being Reinvented as a Political Tool” as well as two short videos titled as “The 11th Panchen Lama: The Boy who ‘disappeared‘” and “Tibetans around the World wish Panchen Rinpoche on His 30th Birthday” at an official function.
Calling him “the rightful 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet”, President Lobsang Sangay of the CTA said Gedhun Choekyi Nyima must be released and enthroned at his seat at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Tibet.
The birthday was also marked at the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery set up by Tibetan exiles at the Tibetan settlement in Bylakuppe in south India, which was attended by the CTA’s Religion and Culture minister as chief guest and the speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile as special guest.
The Tibetan Women’s Association launched peace marches of up to 14 days from five places in different parts of India to highlight the Panchen Lama disappearance issue.
The day before, on Apr 24, the Tibetan Youth Congress and Students for a Free Tibet India flagged off a Dharamsala-New Delhi motorbike rally to highlight the issue. A symbolic number of 30 bikers took part in the rally.