Tibetans in Dharamsala commemorate 30th birthday of 11th Panchen Lama


DHARAMSALA, 25 April: Hundreds of Tibetans and supporters in Dharamsala today gathered at the courtyard of Tsug-lag-Khang, the main temple to commemorate the 30th birthday of the 11th Panchen Lama.

The Central Tibetan Administration’s(CTA) official anniversary function is held to celebrate the 30th birthday of 11th Panchen Lama Gendun Choekyi Nyima and to pay gratitude to the 10th Panchen Lama for his dedicated service to the Tibetan people.

The official commemorative function was attended by among others, Ajay Singh Mankotia, President of Dharamsala Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association as the Chief Guest with Kasur (former minister) Kyabje Kirti Rinpoche and Venerable Ngachen Rinpoche, the representative of Tashi Lhunpo monastery as the Special Guests along with representatives of the three pillars of the Tibetan democracy-in exile as well as members of Tibetan parliament-in-exile and officials of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).

President of CTA, Dr Lobsang Sangay and Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok read the statements of the Kashag and Tibetan parliament respectively.

Both the Tibetan leaders expressed their gratitude to the 10th Panchen Lama for his dedicated service to the Tibetan people while calling on China for the immediate release of the 11th Panchen Lama Gendun Choekyi Nyima.

Ajay Singh Mankotia in his address called on China to do a sensible thing by releasing the Gendun Choekyi Nyima from its abduction.

“We all know that the power of prayer, a prayer when said sincerely with utter devotion will yield miraculous results,” he said and concluded by urging everyone to pray that may the Chinese have the kindness and compassion to release the 11th Panchen Lama, may the Chinese people and the People’s republic of China show the magnanimity and greatness by requesting His Holiness the Dalai Lama to return honourably, safely with the people of Tibet and allow them to live a happy life.

Kasur (former minister) Kyabje Kirti Rinpoche in his address declared China as the real separatist while calling for his immediate release as well.

“China is the real separatist for sowing the seed of discord and disharmony among Tibetans to destroy the unity among Tibetans and separating them and for separating Tibetans from their spiritual leader,” Rinpoche said.

Venerable Ngachen Rinpoche while delivering the official statement of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery said that, although the issue of 11th Panchen Lama’s forced disappearance is a matter of great concern to all Tibetans, it is not simply an individual matter of China’s imprisonment of Tibetan lamas.

“It is also symbolic of the general human rights situation inside Tibet and is substantive evidence of China’s rampant violation of the Tibetan people’s right to freedom of religion,” Ngachen Rinpoche said.

“Our struggle for the release of the 11th Panchen Lama has always been based on truth and honesty, and we pledge to continue to move forward in our struggle by committing ourselves to the principles of truth, freedom and honesty,” he concluded.

Cultural performances, screening of two short videos by CTA’s Department of Information and international relations and the BBC documentary on the release of a full age progression image of a 30-year old Panchen Gendun Choekyi Nyima were presented during the event.

Gendun Choekyi Nyima, born on 25 April 1989, in Lhari County in Nagchu region of eastern Tibet 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 Chinese government and have been held captive since 17 May 1995, along with his family members.

Today the world’s youngest political prisoner has turned into one of the world’s longest-serving political prisoner and even after 24 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.

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