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China's handpicked Panchen Lama "elected" Vice President of Buddhist group

February 5, 2010

Phayul
February 4, 2010

Dharamsala, February 4 -- The handpicked "11th
Panchen Lama Gaincain Norbu" has been "elected"
as one of the 25 vice presidents of the Buddhist
Association of China on Wednesday, according to
the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the eighth
national conference of the Buddhist Association
of China in Beijing, the 19 year-old appointed by
China to replace the boy recognized by the Dalai
Lama said he would "uphold the leadership of the
Communist Party of China (CPC), adhere to
socialism, safeguard national unification,
strengthen ethnic unity and improve Buddhist
exchanges, on the basis of adherence to the law
and love for the nation and Buddhism."

The Buddhist Association of China also "elected"
three honorary presidents, Pagbalha Geleg
Namgyae, vice chairman of the National Committee
of the Chinese People's Political Consultative
Conference, Ben Huan, a 103-year-old "renowned
master," and Yi Cheng, former president of the national association.

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.

Born on April 25, 1989, in Lhari County, Tibet,
Gendhun Choekyi Nyima was recognised by the Dalai
Lama as the 11th Panchen Lama on 14 May 1995 at
the age of six. Three days later, on 17 May, he
along with his parents went missing.

On 15 May, 1996, the Chinese government admitted
to holding the 11th Panchen Lama Gendhun Choekyi
Nyima and his parents in their "protective custody."

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."

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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