DHARAMSALA, April 25: The Central Tibetan Administration headquartered here in Dharamsala today organized an official function at the courtyard of Tsug-lag-khang, the main temple in the town to celebrate the 25th birth anniversary of the 11th Panchen Lama, Gedun Choekyi Nyima.
Thousands of Tibetans and Tibet supporters attended the special function, including members of the Tibetan cabinet(kashag) led by the stand-in Sikyong, Kalon Pema Chinjor, Chief Justice Commissioner, Ngawang Phelgyal Gyechen, Khenpo Sonam Tenphel , Deputy Speaker of Tibetan Parliament, members of the Tibetan Parliament.
The whereabouts and condition of the 11th Panchen Lama, Gedun Choekyi Nyima remain unknown to the Tibetan people and the world at large, since China abducted him at the age of 6 in 1995 after he was recognized as the reincarnation of the charismatic 10th Panchen Lama who wrote the famous seventy thousand character letter criticizing Chinese policies in Tibet.
Kalon Pema Chinjor delivered the official statement on behalf of the elected head of the Tibetan people, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay who is currently on a visit to the Tibetan settlements in South India along with Penpa Tsering, the Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile.
The statement highlighted the courage and devotion exhibited by the 10th Panchen Lama and emphasized the centrality of the Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas to Tibet and the Tibetan people.
The statement also called on the international community to press China to release the 11th Panchen Lama and not overlook China’s human rights abuse in Tibet over economic gains.
“On behalf of the Central Tibetan Administration, I appeal to the international community to make a concerted effort to press China to release Gedun Choekyi Nyima. The international community must make it plain to China that flagrant human rights violations such as the disappearance of the 11th Panchen Lama cannot be papered over by business and commerce,” the statement read.
Sikyong Sangay also called on China to restore its moral leadership in the world by releasing the captive Tibetan Buddhist leader.
“I also directly appeal to the Chinese authorities to release Gedun Choekyi Nyima, his family and other prisoners of conscience. This would be a large step forward to restoring China’s moral leadership in the world,” he said in the statement.
Deputy Speaker, Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, delivered the official statement of the Tibetan Parliament and Tsangtruk Top, a leading Tibetan researcher who has published a book on the life of the 10th Panchen Lama spoke circumstances surrounding the death of the previous Panchen Lama and the recognition of the current Panchen Rinpoche.
The official statements and talks were followed by cultural dance performances by Tibetan school children in colorful traditional Tibetan attire.