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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Tibetan exiles demand Panchen Lama's release

May 19, 2009

By Tenzin Tsering
May 18, 2009

Dharamsala, May 18 - Tibetan exiles yesterday
carried out various campaigns to mark fourteen
years since the 'mysterious disappearance' of the
11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima who they
allege was ‘abducted’ by China on May 17, 1995.

Tibetan Women’s Association held a panel
discussion here on "How to secure the release of
the 11th Panchen Lama after 14 years of his
abduction" that was participated as speakers by
Gyari Dolma, Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan
Parliament in Exile, Urgyen Tenzin, Director,
Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy,
Lobsang Tashi, Researcher, Central Association
for the Panchen Lama, Lungrik Gyal, Editor, Tibet
Times and Gang Lhamo, Reporter, Tibet Express.

It was discussed that consistent effort at
seeking Panchen Lama’s release at the UN and
other platforms are important despite them being fairly disappointing so far.

There were suggestions to seek support from other
Buddhist nations and that Panchen Lama being a
religious head, efforts at garnering support from
other faiths can be employed. Various strategic
ideas on how to make the Panchen Lama’s release
more immediate and successful were also
expressed. The audience also expressed their
concerns at the missing Lama’s safety

Meanwhile, Members of the Regional Tibetan
Women's Association (RTWA), Delhi, carried out a
peaceful protest at Jantar Mantar in the Indian
capital demanding the whereabouts of the eleventh
Panchen Lama and seeking his immediate release.

The protestors shouted slogans asking China to
furnish verifiable information about the young
Panchen Lama. "We draw the attention of United
Nations and world human rights bodies to
pressurize the political leadership of China to
confirm the whereabouts of 11th Panchen Lama."
said Rinzing Ongmu, who heads the Delhi Tibetan Women Association (RTWA).

The regional Tibetan Women’s Association of
Dharamsala undertook a petition signing campaign
yesterday to secure Panchen Lama's release at the
town's main square. The RTWA Dharamsala also went
for a candle light vigil in the evening to pray
for the safety of 11th Panchen Lama.

Ghendun Choekyi Nima who turned twenty on 25th
April this year was recognized as the incarnation
on the 10th Panchen Lama by the Dalai Lama on May
14, 1995, three days before he and his family went missing.

A year later, on 15th May, 1996, the Chinese
government admitted to holding the 11th Panchen
Lama and his parents in their "protective
custody" claiming that they have sought for security and privacy.

Tibetan Government-in-Exile maintains that he and
his family are forcefully put in confinement and
have called him the "youngest Political prisoner
in the world." Others have referred to him as "Tibet’s Stolen Child."

China has provided conflicting reports about the
whereabouts and well being of the Panchen Lama,
ranging from rumours of his death towards the
late 1999 to a set of photos that Chinese
officials displayed briefly, but did not hand
over to European human rights activists.

In 2001, the International Campaign for Tibet
obtained a new photo purporting to be of 12 year
old Gendhun Choekyi Nyima. However, nothing is
known of the authenticity of the photograph.

Lately, China claimed that the Panchen Lama is
attending school and leading a normal life
somewhere in China, and that his whereabouts are
kept undisclosed to protect him, but all requests
for access to Gendhun Choekyi Nyima have been repeatedly refused so far.
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