Tibetans in Dharamsala observe 21 years since Panchen Lama’s abduction

By Lobsang Tenchoe

DHARAMSALA, May 17: The Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (RTYC), Dharamsala along with Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) and Student’s for a Free Tibet (SFT), India today marked 21 years since the abduction of His Holiness the 11th Panchen Lama, Gendun Choekyi Nyima by the Chinese Government.

The three non-governmental organizations collectively organized an event, ‘Letters to Panchen Lama’ today at the main square in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala.

stt_2016_5_17Tibetans and foreigners wrote messages to the Panchen Lama as well as letters to Chinese government demanding his immediate release and whereabouts. These messages and letters were attached to helium balloon and released in the air to condole the 21 years of abduction of Panchen Lama.

Another parallel program, ‘Run for the 11th Panchen Lama’, an open marathon was also organized by the Central Tibetan Women’s Association.

In the official press release, Tenzin Tselha SFT-India National Director said: “The disappearance of Panchen Rinpoche at the age of 6 is one of the most heartbreaking news that Tibetans have to face. But we have not given up hope and will continue to resist till China gives an answer on his whereabouts”.

Wangden Kyab, RTYC president said, “21 years ago on this day, H.H the Panchen Lama faced enforced disappearance at the age of six. Till today his whereabouts remain a question which is an evidence of the Chinese Communist regime as a gang of bandits. Chinese government and its leaders can never be bestowed with our hope and trust. It is therefore crucial for our Tibetan brothers and sisters to not cave for leniency rather instill our energy on this freedom struggle.”

twa_2016_5_17In their release, the Central Tibetan Women’s association stated that China is trying to usurp the Dalai Lama as the face of Tibetan Buddhism by raising the profile of their hand-picked Panchen Lama.

“China strived to bolster and steadily raised the profile of its hand-picked Panchen Lama – Gyaltsen Norbu through various means earmarked Beijing’s choice to usurp the Dalai Lama as the public face of Tibetan Buddhism,” TWA stated.

They further demanded 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.

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. 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 Tibetan non-governmental organizations, the Chinese authorities have disclosed no information at all about the well being and whereabouts of Tibet’s lost child. 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.

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