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No Tibet freedom without Communist Party: Panchen Lama

March 16, 2009

March 15, 2009

BEIJING (AFP) ‘ China's controversial choice as the second highest
Tibetan spiritual figure said Sunday that Tibetans would never enjoy
human dignity and freedom without the Chinese Communist Party.

The Panchen Lama, Gyaincain Norbu, on Sunday visited an exhibition
trumpeting the economic and democratic progress brought by communist
rule in the 50 years since the end of feudalism in Tibet, state
television reported.

The exhibition coincides with the 50th anniversary of a failed uprising
that led to the exile of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's most revered spiritual
figure.

Chinese authorities say the beginning of his exile marked the end of
serfdom in the mountainous region.

"Facts prove that without the Communist Party of China, over a million
serfs would never enjoy human dignity and freedom," the report quoted
the Panchen Lama as saying.

"People living in Tibet should cherish the prosperity and happy lives
today, it has not come easy."

His comments came as Tibetan regions in China remained under tight
security during the muted first anniversary of anti-Chinese unrest that
Beijing says led to the deaths of 21 people and which it blames on rioters.

According to exile groups, 203 Tibetans were killed -- mostly by Chinese
troops -- during last year's unrest, which began in Lhasa on March 14
before spreading to other areas of western China with Tibetan populations.

China's atheist government enthroned Gyaincain Norbu as the Panchen Lama
in 1995, rejecting another boy selected by the exiled Dalai Lama in a
move that defied long-held Buddhist traditions.

The Dalai Lama's choice, six-year-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, immediately
disappeared from public view and is believed to have been under a form
of house arrest ever since.

The alternate Panchen Lama is rarely seen in public and is believed to
be receiving his education in Beijing under close scrutiny from the
government.

In Tibetan Buddhist tradition the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama have
played alternating roles in the religion's esoteric reincarnation
rituals and the education of each other's successors.

Exiled Tibetans have refused to accept the authority of the alternate
Panchen Lama and have expressed fears that he will be used by the
government to select the next Dalai Lama.

China has ruled Tibet since 1951 after sending in troops to "liberate"
the region the previous year.
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