(TibetanReview.net, Aug26’20) – China said Aug 25 that its appointee to the position of the 11th Panchen Lama, Tibet’s second most prominent religious figure, after disappearing the Dalai Lama-recognized reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama back in 1995, had gone back to Beijing after a 15-day trip to his occupied homeland.
It is the fourth time for the Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, a leader of Tibetan Buddhism, to return home since his ordination in 1995, with the previous three being in 2006, 2016 and 2019, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Aug 25.
The report said his tour included Buddhist and social activities in Nagqu (Tibetan: Nagchu), his birthplace and a prefecture-level city in Tibet Autonomous Region.
Lhari County of Nagqu, where he was born in 1990, he visited local tourism projects, a yak farm and a museum of Tibetan medicine. He also met his relatives and practiced Buddhist activities at the Dagze Temple, the report said.
He was reported to have expressed amazement and happiness that his hometown now had electricity which had only reached the county seat when he left it 25 years earlier. “Now, with paved road and internet, life has improved a lot here,” he was quoted as saying.
He was also reported to have visited Biru (Driru), Sog and Baqen (Drachen) counties of Nagqu, and “expounded on the Buddhist sutras and practiced other activities in various monasteries.”
He was stated to have arrived in Tibet’s capital Lhasa from Beijing on Jul 31 and to have started a series of Buddhist and social activities in different areas of Tibet.
While there continues to be no information since 1995 on Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama recognized by the Dalai Lama, China has since appointed his replacement, Gyaltsen Norbu, as a member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a vice president of the Buddhist Association of China, and the president of the association’s Tibet branch, while residing in Beijing.