Tibetans observe 24th anniversary of Panchen Lama’s arbitrary detention

DHARAMSALA, 17 May: The Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (RTYC), Dharamsala along with Regional Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) and Student’s for a Free Tibet (SFT), India today marked the 24th anniversary of the 11th Panchen Lama, Gendun Choekyi Nyima’s arbitrary detention by the Chinese government.

The three non-governmental organizations marked the anniversary by screening ‘Tibet’s Stolen Child’, a documentary film by Robin Garthwait at the TCV Day School here in McLeod Ganj in the evening.

The film released in 2001 revolves around the disappearance of the six-year-old Panchen Lama while it also contains interviews with numerous well-known personalities including six Nobel Peace Prize Laureate speaking about the disappearance of the 11th Panchen Lama.

“The 11th Panchen Lama vanished without a trace after he was arbitrarily detained by the Chinese authorities. Similarly, scores of Tibetan political prisoners continue to suffer under the Chinese regime,” National Director of SFT- India Rinzin Choedon said while speaking on the importance of campaigning for the release of Tibetan political prisoners.

In another parallel program, the NGOs held a photo action campaign where Tibetans and Tibet supporters wore paper mask of the Panchen Lama and pose for photographs.

Remembering the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, Tibet’s second-highest spiritual leader, exiled Tibetans held numerous campaigns across the world protesting his abduction and demanding his immediate release from the Chinese Prison.

UN, EU & Human Rights Desk of the Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration has organized a panel discussion to mark the 24th year of his enforced disappearance while Gu Chu Sum Movement of Tibet, an organization of former Tibetan political prisoners teamed up with Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Bylakuppee, south India, the exile seat of the Panchen Lama and held a day-long campaign, Motorbike Rally for Panchen Gedhun Chokyi Nyima from Tashi Lhunpo Monastery to Mysore City in Karnataka, South India.

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 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.

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.

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