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Dalai Lama's Panchen Candidate Is Living in Tibet (Update1)

March 8, 2010

BUSINESSWEEK
Bloomberg
March 7, 2010

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, confirmed in 1995 by
Tibet’s spiritual leader as the 11th
reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, is currently
living in Tibet as an ordinary person, said the region’s governor Palma Trily.

Palma’s comment is the first confirmation of the
whereabouts of Gedhun, now probably 21 years old,
who hasn’t been seen in public since he was named at the age of six.

"As far as I know, he and his family are living a
good life in Tibet," Palma said in a televised
press conference today in Beijing. "His siblings
are attending universities and living ordinary
lives. They are reluctant to be interviewed or disturbed.”

The Panchen Lama is Tibet’s second-highest
spiritual leader. China’s government considers
the Dalai Lama’s candidate as "illegitimate and
invalid," while saying that Beijing’s choice
Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu has been confirmed as
the rightful Panchen Lama, Palma said. Qoigyijabu
was named on March 1 as a member of the Chinese
People’s Political Consultative Conference, the
country’s top political advisory body, according
to a report by the Xinhua News Agency.

The Chinese government also dismissed any need to
discuss the reincarnation of the current Dalai
Lama Tenzin Gyatso. The Dalai Lama, 64, has said
that he may stop the system of reincarnation,
mainly because the Chinese government in Beijing
has the final say in approving the candidature of
his position and the position of the Panchen Lama.

"The confirmation of the lamas follow very strict
historical conventions and religious rituals
handed down from the Qing Dynasty," said Qiangba
Puncong, who heads the region’s parliamentary advisory body.
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