TWA observes 23rd anniversary of Panchen Lama’s arbitrary detention

DHARAMSALA, May 16: The Central Tibetan Women’s Association(TWA), along with its Dharamsala regional chapter, today marked the 23rd anniversary of the 11th Panchen Lama, Gendun Choekyi Nyima’s arbitrary detention by the Chinese government.

The members of TWA, both central and the Dharamsala chapter as well as the contingents of 37 different chapters of TWA, who have come to attend the 12th General Body Meeting that concluded yesterday at at Sarah College of Higher Tibetan Studies, marked the 23rd anniversary of the 11th Panchen Lama’s arbitrary detention by the Chinese government at the Tibetan National Martyrs’ memorial at the entrance of Tsug-lag-Khang here in Dharamsala.

“If the 11th Panchen Lama is receiving a good education, leading a normal and happy life just like any other children as China claims, then why are there so many restrictions and attention from China on the Panchen Lama unlike any other children,” said Dolma Yangchen, the President of TWA.

Today marks the 23rd anniversary since the 11th Panchen Lama was kidnapped by the Peoples Republic of China. He has been held captive since May 17, 1995 along with his family members. In his place, another child named Gyaltsen Norbu was appointed as the 11th Panchen Lama by the Chinese government.

PresidentDolma Yangchen said it’s a political measure taken by China to destroy Tibetan culture and religion, and to undermine His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

TWA, concerned by the mysteries surrounding the Panchen Lama and his well being, reiterated not to give up their effort in the search and release of the Panchen Lama.

TWA demanded China to prove to the world that Panchen Lama is alive and in good health by revealing where he is being held captive, provide his recent photographs and allow an independent committee to be formed under the UN to meet him and his family.

Further, calls were made for the Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the 11th Panchen Lama and to provide information on whereabouts and well being of Chadrel Rinpoche, the former abbot of Tashi Lhunpu monastery who headed the search party committee of the Panchen Lama’s reincarnation.

TWA also held a peace march from the Martyrs’ memorial at the entrance of Tsug-lag-Khang to Kacheri in lower Dharamsala.

Born on April 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 only to be kidnaped and held captive three days later along with his family members by the Chinese authorities.

While Human Rights organizations have termed him the youngest political prisoner in the world, today the Panchan Lama has turned into one of the world’s longest-serving political prisoners and even after 23 years, the 11th Panchen Lama and his family’s whereabouts and condition remain unknown.

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

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