(TibetanReview.net, Sep30, 2017) – China said Sep 28 that the person it had appointed in 1995 to serve as the 11th Panchen Lama, Tibet’s second most prominent religious figure, in place of the six-year-old boy recognized by the Dalai Lama at that time but rendered disappeared by it since then, had returned to Beijing after visiting Tibet from Jul 25 to Sep 27.
The 11th Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu visited several temples and held Buddhist activities in Lhasa, Shigatse and Qamdo (ie, Chamdo) during that period, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Sep 28. It also said he gave blessings to tens of thousands of followers and members of the public.
The Panchen Lamas traditionally live at Tashi Lhunpo, his historical seat monastery in Shigatse, but China has been keeping and grooming its appointee in Beijing, bringing him to Tibet only for occasional visits.
Meanwhile the whereabouts, and indeed, the fate of the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, recognized by Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, continues to remain unknown.
Over the past few years China made its own Panchen Lama a vice-president of the Buddhist Association of China and a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee, the country’s supposedly top but merely a rubberstamp political advisory body.