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US issues statement calling on China to disclose Panchen Lama’s whereabouts

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The US has urged China to immediately account for the Panchen Lama’s whereabouts and his well-being, coinciding with the 29th anniversary of the Tibetan spiritual leader’s disappearance from the remote Himalayan region.

The Panchen Lama is one of the most important religious figures in Tibetan Buddhism, second only to the Dalai Lama himself.

Today marks 29 years since the People’s Republic of China (PRC) abducted the 11th Panchen Lama, one of the most important figures in Tibetan Buddhism, as a six-year-old child. Gedhun Choekyi Nyima remains missing and has not appeared in public since that day, a press statement from the US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Friday here.

Titled Marking 29 Years Since the Panchen Lama’s Disappearance,’ the statement further said, The PRC government is denying members of the Tibetan community access to this important religious figure and instead continues to promote a state-selected proxy.

According to a statement of the Central Tibetan Administration, the Tibetan government in exile in India, it was on May 14, 1995, that the Dalai Lama officially announced Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th Panchen Lama.

It was on May 17, 1995, that he was taken into Chinese custody along with his entire family, making him the youngest political prisoner in the world at the age of six, it said.

Stating that the US supports Tibetans’ human rights and their exercise of those rights in connection with their distinct religious, cultural, and linguistic identity, the State Department statement said, Tibetans, like members of all religious communities, should have the ability to select, educate, and venerate their own leaders, like the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, according to their own beliefs and without government interference.


We urge PRC authorities to immediately account for Gedhun Choekyi Nyima’s whereabouts and well-being and to allow him to fully exercise his human rights in line with the PRC’s international commitments, it added.

The Central Tibetan Administration statement on Friday too demanded that the Chinese government must provide credible information on the well-being and whereabouts of the Panchen Lama.

China should immediately and unconditionally release the Panchen Lama, his parents and Chandrel Rinpoche from its captivity, it added.

The 11th Panchen Lama was conferred with the official name of Jetsun Tenzin Gedhun Teshi Trinley Phuntsok Pal Sangpo.

After the abduction of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, Chinese authorities appointed another boy, Gyaltsen Norbu, as the 11th Panchen Lama. Gyaltsen Norbu is being made to serve Beijing as a mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party of China.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: May 18 2024 | 10:04 PM IST

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