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17 May 2018

Tibetans set to renew Panchen Lama protest ....Leader held in China for 23 years

Vivek Chhetri, TT, May 17, 2018, Darjeeling: The Tibetan community across the country will once again be drawing the attention of the world over the "lost" six-year old Panchen Lama, who within three days of being recognised as a reincarnate, was allegedly abducted by Chinese authorities 23 years ago.

"It was on May 17, 1995, that that Tibet's 11th Panchen Lama was abducted by Chinese authorities, just three days after the six year old was recognised as an reincarnate by His Holiness Dalai Lama," said Tenzi Bhutia, member, Tibetan Women's Association (TWA).

"Tomorrow, we will once again try and raise the issue before the global audience. We have not yet lost hope," said Bhutia. In Darjeeling an awareness programme will be held throughout the day.

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was recognised as an incarnate of Lobsang Trinley Lhundrup Choekyi Gyaltsen.

"However, the Panchen Lama and his entire family were kidnapped. Chinese authorities have refused repeated requests for independent access to establish his health and well-being, claiming that he was leading a normal life and did not wish to be disturbed," said an official of TWA.

In December 1995, Chinese authorities recognised another boy of similar age, Gyaltsen L Norbu, who the Tibetans allege was the son of a Tibetan functionary of the Communist Party.

"Panchen Lama turned 29 years on April 25, 2018. He should be allowed to return to the Tashi Lhunpo monastery, which is the seat of Panchen Lama, and receive religious education and training deserving of his religious status. At this age, he is also supposed to be performing his supreme responsibility," said the TWA official.

The association will on Thursday demand the release of photographs of the Panchen Lama as a 29-year-old.

"We will raise the demand to allow independent bodies under the supervision of the United Nations to meet Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family and seek their release," said the official.

The Tibetan protesters are also demanding that information on the whereabouts of Chadrel Rinpche be made public.

"Chadrel Rinpoche, the former abbot of the Tashi Lhunpo monastery, had headed the search party committee for the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama. We also want to seek information on the whereabouts and well-being of Chadrel Rinpoche," said the official.

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