China says 11th Panchen Lama ‘a college graduate with a job’ now

DHARAMSALA, 20 May: On the heels of the 25th anniversary of the 11th Panchen Lama, Gendun Choekyi Nyima’s arbitrary detention by the Chinese government, Beijing has said that Tibet’s second-highest spiritual leader is now “a college graduate with a job.”

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima ‘received free compulsory education when he was a child, passed the college entrance examination and now has a job, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian has stated on Tuesday.

The development came following the global call or the immediate release of the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his entire family as it marks the 25th year of their enforced disappearance.

Exiled Tibetans marked the anniversary across the world on Sunday, calling for their revered spiritual leader’s immediate release and called on China to stop meddling in the Tibet’s centuries-old and deeply rooted Buddhist system of recognizing their reincarnated lamas.

Born on 25 Apr 1989 in Lhari County in Nagchu region of eastern Tibet, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was recognized as the 11th Panchen Lama by His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama at the tender age of 6 on 14 May 1995.

Three days after his enthronement, the 11th Panchen Lama was kidnapped by the Peoples Republic of China and have been held captive since 17 May 1995 along with his family members. He has not been seen in public ever since.

Human Rights organizations have called him the youngest political prisoner in the world.

Today the world’s youngest political prisoner has turned into one of the world’s longest-serving political prisoner and even after 25 years, the 11th Panchen Lama and his family’s whereabouts and condition still remains 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 the child, United Nation’s Human Rights Council and Tibetan non-governmental organizations, the Chinese authorities have disclosed no information at all about the well being and whereabouts of Tibet’s lost child.

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