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<-Back to WTN Archives Panchen Lama Flown to Beijing
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World Tibet Network News

Monday, January 8, 1996

1. Panchen Lama Flown to Beijing

By Jasper Becker in Beijing

South China Morning Post, 5 January 1996

China has secretly flown to Beijing the Tibetan boy who was last month
enthroned as the 11th Panchen Lama and it now keeping him in a villa once
used by disgraced Party Secretary Chen Xitong.

"They are afraid the boy may be murdered by Tibetans who believe the real
Panchen Lama is the one selected by the Dalai Lama," said informed sources.

By tradition, the re-incarnation of Tibet's second highest ranking religious
leader should be taught by monks at Tashilhunpo Monastery in Xigaze, the seat
of the Panchen Lamas.

However, a spokesman of the Tibet Autonomous Region's Government said he had
no information of the boy's whereabouts.

In Beijing, the Religious Affairs Bureau of the State Council also declined
to say where the child was.

Other sources said the boy, Gyaincain Norbu, his parents and his tutor, the
Bhumi Rinpoche, were put on a special flight to Beijing last week and driven
to a secluded villa in Huairou county.

The Beijing Party Committee owns several villas in the scenic county, an
hour's drive from the capital.

A detachment of the People's Armed Police is maintaining a close watch over
a walled compound surrounded by wooded hills which contains a
traditional-styled courtyard house, an open air-swimming pool and an office

The sudden removal of the boy, only days after he was enthroned at a ceremony
at Tashilhunpo amid major coverage by the Chinese media, will inevitably
spark speculation that Beijing wants to have him educated outside Tibet to
ensure his loyalty to the Communist Party.

The party may have concluded that the monastery does not offer the best
environment. Most of the senior lamas in Tibet are still believed to remain
loyal to the Dalai Lama and his quest for independence.

Before the boy's selection on November 30, the party detained more than 30
monks after some held protest against Beijing's decision to reject the Dalai
Lama's choice.

The authorities also replaced the leadership of the monastery and although
most of the monks have since been released, the former abbot, the Chadrel
Rinpoche, is still believed to be in detention.

Last May, the Dalai Lama angered Beijing by announcing that the six-year
search for the new Panchen Lama was over and proclaimed Gedyun Choekyi Nyima
t be the rightful reincarnation.

The party charged the Dalai Lama with orchestrating a "evil plot" by ignoring
the central Government's right to the final say and by failing to divine the
right choice by using lots drawn from a golden urn.

Some Tibetans now believe the party also meddled in the divination ceremony
which it organised itself in Lhasa last month.

It is rumoured the boy was pre-selected for his looks and intelligence and
the lot bearing his name was marked so it could be identified by the Bhumi
Rinpoche before he withdrew it.

Although Beijing claims Tibetans are convinced of the illegality of the Dalai
Lama's actions, it resorted to extensive security measures to forestall

The divination ceremony was not announced beforehand and was then held before
dawn while the rest of Lhasa was plunged into darkness by a power cut.

When, just over a week latter, the by was enthroned in Xigaze, troops lined
the road from Lhasa and extra forces were flown into ensure the safety of the
presiding Chinese official, State Councillor Li Tieying.

Articles in this Issue:
  1. Panchen Lama Flown to Beijing

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