Lawmakers in Italy, Estonia, and Germany urge China to release Tibetan religious leader it abducted 25 years ago

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama.

(, May16’20) – Ahead of the culmination on May 17 of an exile Tibetan campaign to bring international pressure on China to reveal the whereabouts and seek the release of the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, members of parliament in Italy, Estonia and Germany have extended their solidary with and support to the cause.

In Italy, a Senator and three members of the Chamber of Deputies have issued separate statements, calling the continued state of abduction of the Dalai Lama-recognized 11th Panchen Lama “a serious human rights issue, in particular, the violation of Tibetan people’s right to freedom of religion and belief.”

The MPs have also expressed serious concern over “China’s continued disregard of its international human rights obligations.” They have demanded that China “respect Tibetans’ right to freedom of religion and right to choose their own religious heads without governmental interference.”

They have called on China to “immediately reveal the fate and whereabouts of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima,” Tibet’s second most prominent religious figure.

The Senator in question was Roberto Rampi while the Chamber of Deputies members were Mr Nobili Luciano – IV (who is the co-ordinator of the Inter-Parliamentary Group Italy for Tibet), Mr Matteo Luigi Bianchi and Antonella Incerti.

In Estonia, the Tibet Support Group of the Riigikogu, the country’s unicameral parliament, has issued a statement, calling for the release of the Panchen Lama and other prisoners of conscience, and for freedom of religion for the people of Tibet.

The statement accused China of systematically engaging in the destruction of the cultures and traditions of indigenous peoples, including in Xinjiang as well. It called on “all freedom-loving nations and the global community to put pressure on the Communist Government of China to release the Tibetan prisoners of conscience, and to ensure freedom of religion and freedom of speech on the whole territory ruled by the regime.”

It called on China to negotiate with representatives of Tibet in exile as this is the only way to resolve the issue of Tibet.

And in Germany, four prominent members of parliament have issued a joint statement on the occasion of the 25th year of the 11th Panchen Lama’s disappearance, demanding his immediate release.

The statement said: “With the kidnapping and the deprivation of liberty that has now lasted over two decades, the Chinese state is blatantly violating human rights, in particular the human right to life and freedom of the person as well as religious freedom.”

The statement called on China to enter into serious dialogue with the Dalai Lama and his representatives and release the Panchen Lama as the first step towards it.

The signatories were named as Mr Michael Brand (CDU/CSU: Christian Democratic Union of Germany/ The Christian Social Union in Bavaria), Mr Frank Schwabe (SPD: The Social Democratic Party of Germany), Ms Gyde Jensen (FDP: The Free Democratic Party), and Ms Margarete Bause (Bündnis 90 /Die Grünen: Alliance90/The Greens). They were stated to be Human Rights Policy Committee spokespersons for the four largest German parties in the Bundestag.

Earlier, members of Czech and Swiss Parliaments had also issued similar joint calls for action on the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima while Sam Brownback, the US State Department’s ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, also added his voice to the call.


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