(TibetanReview.net, Apr23, 2015) – The exile Tibetan administration at Dharamshala, India, has on Apr 21 called on China to release the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima for the 20th year since it took away the six-year-old boy with his family and who has remained disappeared ever since. The Chinese action occurred just three days after Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, declared him to be the true reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama in 1995, Tibet’s second most prominent religious figure.
China later installed another boy, Gyaltsen Norbu, as the 11th Panchen Lama and keeps him in Beijing rather than Tashi Lhunpo in Tibet’s second city of Shigatse, the traditional seat of the Panchen Lamas.
“17 May 2015 is to coincide with the anniversary of the disappearance of the 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, one of the most revered religious leaders in Tibet. The Central Tibetan Administration calls upon the international community to join us in an appeal for his release. This year will mark the 20th anniversary of his gone missing at age six. Till date, his whereabouts and well-being remain unknown,” the exile administration’s spokesman Mr Tashi Phuntsok was quoted as saying at a press briefing.
Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, as the world’s youngest political prisoner, has for long been a subject of numerous international, including UN, queries on his whereabouts and appeals for release. But China kept rejecting them all. He turns 26 on Apr 25, if alive.
In Mar 2010, the Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region government, Mr Padma Choling, claimed to reporters on the sideline of China’s annual two sessions in Beijing that the boy was living with his family somewhere in Tibet. He and his family are “now living a very good life” and they are “reluctant to be disturbed, they want to live an ordinary life,” the AP Mar 7 quoted him as saying.
He insisted that Gendun Choekyi Nyima was not a valid Panchen but did not explain why he needed to be disappeared to supposedly lead an ordinary life.