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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?"

Foreign Minister George Yeo meets 11th Panchen Lama

September 15, 2010

By Wong Yee Fong
Singapure News
September 14, 2010
   
BEIJING -- Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo
on Tuesday became the first foreign leader to meet the 11th Panchen Lama.

During the meeting in Beijing, Mr Yeo also
invited the Panchen Lama to visit Singapore.

Minister Yeo met the Tibetan religious leader in
his official capacity as a member China's
political consultative body, the CPPCC.

Mr Yeo is on a working visit in Beijing.

Both leaders met at the Xihuang Monastry - an
ancient temple dating back over 400 years.

At the meeting, the minister updated the Panchen
Lama on the state of Singapore-China religious exchanges.

This is the Panchen Lama's first diplomatic meeting with a foreign leader.

Singapore's Foreign Minister George Yeo had
written to the Panchen Lama following his visit to Tibet last year.

In the letter the minister congratulated the
Panchen Lama on his ordination and expressed his
desire to meet the religious leader.

"I wrote to him, thanking him for the welcome I
received at his monastery, asking to visit him
when I visit Beijing," Mr Yeo said.

"This visit follows directly from that visit. I
think it will be a wonderful new development in
the close relations (between) the Buddhists in
Singapore and the Buddhists in China."

Last year, Minister Yeo visited the Tashi Lhunpo
Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama, but did not get to meet him.

The minister spoke about his impressions of the 20 year old.

"He's a young man. He's just taken his monastic
vows. He will have to shoulder very heavy
responsibilities. I think he's very well-prepared
for it. It's an honour for us to make this visit," he said.

Born in 1990, the Panchen was approved by China's
central government as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama in 1995.

The Panchen is also the vice chairman of the China Buddhist Association.

The Singapore Buddhist Federation members present
at the meeting invited the Panchen Lama to visit
Singapore and meet members of the Singapore Buddhist community.

-CNA/wk
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