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Handpicked Panchen Lama appointed to China's top advisory body

March 2, 2010

By Kalsang Rinchen
March 1, 2010

Dharamsala, March 1 -- China on Sunday made its
handpicked Panchen Lama Gaincain Norbu a member
of the National Committee of the Chinese People's
Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the
country's top advisory body, according to the
official news agency Xinhua. The 20-year-old boy
is among 13 new members of the CPPCC.

The three-day meeting also appointed Qian Yunlu
as secretary-general for the third session of the
11th CPPCC National Committee and 21 others as
vice secretary-generals. The annual session will begin on March 3.

Gaincain Norbu was also made one of the 25 vice
presidents of the Buddhist Association of China last month.

China installed Gaincain Norbu as its own Panchen
Lama soon after the Dalai Lama recognized Gendhun
Choekyi Nyima as the 11th Panchen Lama on 14 May
1995. Three days later, on 17 May, he along with
his parents went missing. However, Gaincain Norbu
is not widely accepted by Tibetans as the true
incarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama despite China’s backing.

Panchen Lama is revered as the second highest
tulku lineage in the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan
Buddhism and one of the most influential spiritual leaders of Tibet.

Tibetan exiles claim he and his family were
abducted by China which installed Gaincain Norbu
in his place and refer to Gendhun Choekyi Nyima
as the "youngest Political prisoner in the
world." On 15 May, 1996, the Chinese government
admitted to holding the 11th Panchen Lama Gendhun
Choekyi Nyima and his parents in their "protective custody."

Traditionally, the Panchen Lama bears part of the
responsibility for finding the incarnation of the
Dalai Lama and vice versa, a practice many say
has prompted China to install its own Panchen Lama.
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