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TYC calls for immediate release of Panchen Lama
Phayul[Monday, May 17, 2010 14:04]
By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, May 17: The members of the Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest pro-independence organisation in the exile Tibetan community, Monday organised peaceful protest march here asking the Chinese communist regime to release Gendhun Choekyi Nyima, the boy recognised by the Dalai Lama as the 11th Panchen Lama in 1995, from its captivity.
Monday marked 15 years since the Chinese authorities secretly abducted Gendhun Choekyi Nyima along with his parents on May 17, 1995, three days after His Holiness the Dalai Lama declared him to be the reincarnation of the previous Panchen Lama. He was only six years old then.
Gendhun Choekyi Nyima turned 21 last month, but his whereabouts and safety has been unknown since he first disappeared out of public view.
Over the years Tibetans and their supporters around the world have routinely marked his birthdays and disappearance by organising “Free Panchen Lama” campaigns, candle light vigils and signature campaigns.
Chinese Government claims that his whereabouts are kept undisclosed to protect him, but all requests for access to him, including requests and pressure from various governments and rights, have been repeatedly refused so far.
In a statement released here today, Tibetan Youth Congress said it was high time for China to show the 11th Panchen Lama to the international community to confirm his wellbeing, and that he be allowed to resume his spiritual role to maintain the unbroken lineage of the successive Panchen Lamas.
Accusing the Chinese government of interfering in the religious affairs of the Tibetan people for its own “political benefits”, the statement urged the international community to exert pressure on Beijing to secure the immediate release of the Panchen Lama, his family and others associated with the finding of the Panchen Lama.
The organisation also organised signature campaigns here today and will hold hold a candle light vigil late in evening to offer prayers for his wellbeing.
Panchen Lama is revered by Tibetans as the second highest tulku lineage in the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and one of the most influential spiritual leaders of Tibet.
Traditionally, the Panchen Lama bears part of the responsibility for finding the incarnation of the Dalai Lama and vice versa, a practice many say has prompted China to install another boy, Gyaltsen Norbu, as the Panchen Lama.
Gyaltsen, who is generally not recognised by Tibetans, is being used by Beijing to supplant the Dalai Lama as the public face of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet and elsewhere in China. In recent years he has taken on an increasingly political role and was recently appointed to China's top government advisory body.
The latest statement by the Chinese authorities concerning the fate of the Gendhun Choekyi Nyima came two months ago from Pema Thinley, the Chinese-appointed governor of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). Thinley told reporters on the sidelines of China's annual legislative session in Beijing earlier in March that the young boy was living with his family and having a “very good life” somewhere in Tibet. He, however, gave no further details.
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