In 1995, at the age of six, a young boy was recognized as Tibet’s reincarnated 11th Panchen Lama, one of that country’s most important religious leaders. Young Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was so recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Shortly thereafter, the Chinese government took him and his family into custody and have not been seen since. The previous 10th Panchen Lama had died under mysterious conditions in 1989. He had been a vocal advocate for Tibetan culture and autonomy.
On April 25, 2012 the Panchen Lama turned 23 years of age. Seventeen of those years have been spent in captivity without knowledge of his whereabouts.
The Chinese government had asserted themselves in the search for the reincarnated Panchen Lama and assigned someone of their own choosing as the religious leader. Now, this government-assigned Panchen Lama has been given a title in Chinese government equal to the status of a congressman and has been active in making propaganda statements for his regime against Tibetans.
Peoples worldwide and human rights groups have called for the immediate release of the Panchen Lama. Under these conditions, there is great concern by many that his life is threatened. The government of China has remained silent on this issue.
You can find out more information on http://www.savetibet.org. This is the website for the International Campaign for Tibet which serves to protect the people of Tibet from human rights violations and mobilizing assistance in education and development for its people. Or, see Students for a Free Tibet https://www.studentsforafreetibet.org/
Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama
Photo from Save Tibet.org
Uploaded by Students for a Free Tibet
- Missing for 17 years: Tibetans demand Panchen Lama’s release – www.phayul.com (aboriginalpress.wordpress.com)
- Why the Dalai Lama is Hopeful (nybooks.com)