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Tibetans mark 19 year anniversay of Panchen Lama abduction

May 20, 2014

May 17, 2014 - Tibetans in exile today marked 19 years since 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima’s disappearance and appealed for his immediate release.

A day of campaign for his release was observed with a visual freeze action depicting a 6 year old Panchen Lama behind bars.

The event was jointly organized by regional chapters of Tibetan Youth Congress and Tibetan Women’s Association and Students for a Free Tibet, India.

The 11th Panchen Lama, who is 25 now, was abducted at the age of six along with his family, shortly after he was recognized as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Despite repeated international pressure, the Chinese government has not disclosed the whereabouts of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family, who the Tibetan exiles claim, are held under captive by the Chinese government.

After the Dalai Lama recognized Gendun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th Panchen Lama in 1995, Beijing handpicked another boy, Gyaltsen Norbu to occupy the seat of the Panchen Lamas, Tashi Lhunpo.

The previous Panchen Lama passed away under mysterious circumstances at the age of 52, shortly after he gave a public speech in which he was openly critical of the Chinese government's repressive and destructive policies in Tibet.

Lobsang Sangay, the democratically-elected political head of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) has also appealed for the Panchen Lama's release. "On one hand, it gives us immense joy that His Holiness the Dalai Lama was able to recognize the authentic reincarnation of the Panchen Lama. But this joy is profoundly undermined by the memory of the time when the Panchen Lama and his family were taken captive by the Chinese authorities," said Sangay on Panchen Lama's 25th birthday last month.

“The importance of the 25 year old Panchen Lama is that both the Panchen Lama and Dalai Lama play significant roles in giving recognition to each other’s reincarnation and also imparting important religious teachings,” said Tenzin Dolkar from Regional Tibetan Women’s Association. “Therefore the Chinese government has been keeping absolute silence on the whereabouts of the present Panchen Lama in order to satisfy their vicious plans to manufacture their own Dalai Lama in the future.”

Nyima Yangtso, Regional Tibetan Youth Congress said, “In order to capture over religious leaders of the Tibetan people and thereby political power, the Chinese government has appropriated the process of recognizing reincarnate lamas. The PRC made amendments in their law and incorporated article 8 and 15 which reserves absolute over the recognizing of any lama in China and Tibet.”

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