Panchen Lama turns 27, Tibetans urge China to release him
By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, Apr 25: The regional Tibetan Women’s Association, Dharamsala along with regional chapter of Tibetan Youth Congress commemorated the 27th birth anniversary of His Holiness the 11th Panchen Lama, Gendun Choekyi Nyima.
Commemorating the 11th Panchen Lama’s 27th birthday today at the main square in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala the two NGOs organized a signature campaign demanding information on the whereabouts of the 11th Panchen Lama and further urged the Chinese Government to release the Panchen Lama and let him return to his rightful place, Tashi Lhunpo monastery in Tibet to carry out his religious responsibilities.
“On this day, Tibetans all over the world, especially those in Tibet under the repressive rule of the Chinese government will remember and pray for the well-being of the young Panchen Lama who has been held captive since 1995,” a statement released by the regional Tibetan Women’s Association read.
“The reason for this celebration is that we Tibetans want to feel that the 11th Panchen Lama is very much alive and he will be a free man very soon,” the statement further added and requested all the Tibetans and Tibet Supporters to celebrate the Panchen Lama’s birth day.
Special programs including prayers, offering sweets to people, and dance routines have been prepared as well to commemorate his birthday.
Born on Apr 25, 1989 in Lhari County in Tibet, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was recognized as the 11th Panchen Lama by His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama at the tender age of 6 on May 14, 1995.
Three days after his enthronement, the 11th Panchen Lama was kidnapped by the Peoples Republic of China and held captive since May 17, 1995, along with his family members. Human Rights organizations have termed him the youngest political prisoner in the world.
Even after 27 years, his whereabouts and condition still remain unknown. In his place, another child named Gyaltsen Norbu was appointed as the 11th Panchen Lama by the Chinese Government.
Regardless of the concerns expressed and requests made by numerous organizations such as Human Rights Organizations, Committee on the Rights of child, United Nation’s Human Rights Council and the Tibetan Non-Governmental organizations, the Chinese authorities have disclosed no information at all about the well being and whereabouts of Tibet’s lost child.