(TibetanReview.net, May15’20) – Sixteen members of the Czech Parliament have on May 14 called for immediate release of the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Niyma and other Tibetan political prisoners ahead of the completion of 25 years since the Chinese government abducted him with his family on May 17, 1995. On the same day, Sam Brownback, the US State Department’s ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, has also renewed his called on China to release the person who is Tibet’s second most prominent religious figure and let the world know his whereabouts.
“We continue to press the Chinese authorities to release the Panchen Lama, to let him free, but (also) to let the world know where he is,” Brownback has said.
He has warned Beijing not to see the episode as a model for handling the Dalai Lama’s succession. “They don’t have the right to appoint the next Dalai Lama any more than they (have) the right to appoint the next pope,” he has said.
The only information China has provided on the Dalai Lama-recognized Panchen Lama is from a pro-Beijing official in Tibet Autonomous Region who said in 2015 that the young man was healthy, enjoying an education and “does not want to be disturbed,” noted the AFP May 15.
Elsewhere, in the Czech Republic, 16 members of Parliament have issued a joint statement, calling for the immediate release of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, “along with his entire family and other Tibetan political prisoners.”
The MPs have called his disappearance for 25 years a “continuous crime being perpetrated by China not only against Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family but also against all the Tibetans who are deprived of their religious leader.”
The MPs, who all belong to the Czech Parliamentary Support Group for Tibet, have been named as Senators Přemysl Rabas (co-chair of Czech Parliamentary Support Group for Tibet- Senate), Jan Horník, Jiří Oberfalzer, and Jitka Seitlová; and Members of Chamber of Deputies František Kopříva (co-chair of Czech Parliamentary Support Group for Tibet – Chamber of Deputies), Dana Balcarová, Jan Čižinský, Jakub Janda, Lenka Kozlová, Tomáš Martínek, Jakub Michálek, Vít Rakušan, Olga Richterová, Ondřej Veselý, Tomáš Vymazal and Marek Výborný.