Tibetans in Dharamsala demand immediate release of Panchen Lama on his 28th birthday

By Lobsang Tenchoe

DHARAMSALA, April 25: Regional Tibetan Women’s Association, Dharamsala along with regional chapter of Tibetan Youth Congress(RTYC) and Students for a Free Tibet, (SFT) India commemorated the 28th birth anniversary of His Holiness the 11th Panchen Lama, Gendun Choekyi Nyima.

Commemorating the 11th Panchen Lama’s 28th birthday today at the main square in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala the three NGOs organized a signature campaign demanding information on the whereabouts of the 11th Panchen Lama and further urged the Chinese government for the immediate release of the Panchen Lama.

18175532_1504052109639194_49572028_o“For more than 20 years, the Chinese government has kept Panchen Rinpoche Gendun Choekyi Nyima away from Tibetan people and the world, but we haven’t forgotten about him. He is the world’s youngest prisoner of conscience. We urge the world leaders to put pressure on China for his release,” Wangden Kyap, President of Regional Tibetan Youth Congress said.

“Chinese government’s act of abducting Gendun Choekyi Nyima and replacing him with a Chinese appointed Panchen Lama, Gyaltsen Norbu should be seen as their attempt to take control over all aspects of Tibetan culture and tradition,” Lobsang Tsetan, Campaigns Director of SFT India added.

Born on Apr 25, 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 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 20 years, the 11th Panchen Lama and his family’s 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.

18110984_1504052932972445_1869679892_oRegardless of the concerns expressed and requests made by numerous organizations such as Human Rights Organization, Committee on the Rights of Child, United Nation’s Human Rights Council and the Tibetan non-governmental organizations, Chinese authorities have disclosed no information at all about the well being and whereabouts of Tibet’s lost child.