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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China raises profile of its choice of Dalai Lama's No 2

March 2, 2010

February 28, 2010

BEIJING (Reuters) -- China has moved to raise the
profile of the teenage Panchen Lama,
traditionally the second-most powerful figure in
Tibetan Buddhism who plays a role in the
controversial selection of the next Dalai Lama.

The Panchen Lama, who turns 20 this year and is
being groomed to win over restive Tibetans in
China, was named a member of the national
committee of an advisory body that will hold its
annual meeting this week, the Xinhua news agency said Monday.

The Panchen Lama was selected by Beijing in 1995
over a boy chosen by the Dalai Lama who has never
been seen again, creating a crisis of legitimacy for devout Tibetans.

China considers the aging Dalai Lama, who fled
into exile in 1959 after an abortive uprising
against Chinese rule, a dangerous separatist. The
Dalai Lama says he is merely seeking greater autonomy for Tibet.

China has been gradually exposing the Panchen
Lama to more public roles in the hope he will
achieve the loyalty of Tibetans and international
respect commanded by the aging Dalai Lama.

He was among 13 people named to the national
committee of the Chinese People's Political
Consultative Conference, a body of private
entrepreneurs, religious and cultural figures
designed to provide input to the ruling Communist Party.

The CPPCC's annual meeting, which coincides with
that of China's rubber-stamp legislature, begins this week.

He is believed to be a reincarnation of the 10th
Panchen Lama, who remained in China when the
Dalai Lama left and was subsequently imprisoned for many years.

The Panchen Lama, a slight man with thick
glasses, debuted with a speech in English at a
Chinese-organized Buddhist congress in eastern China in 2009.

(Reporting by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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