Panchen Lama Special Report

Friday, April 25, 2003
World Tibet Network News

Statement of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery
[Seat of The Panchen Lamas]
on the 14th Birthday of

The Panchen Lama, Gendhun Choekyi Nyima.

April 25, 2003
Bylakuppe, India

Our sincere greetings to fellow Tibetans in and outside Tibet, and to all our friends and supporters all over the world on this auspicious occasion of the birthday of The Panchen Lama, Gendhun Choekyi Nyima. We also want to share our greetings and well wishes with Gendhun Choekyi Nyima on this His 14th birthday. While there have been positive developments related to the release of Tibetan political prisoners in recent months, we remain extremely concerned for the safety of The Panchen Lama, His family, and Chadrel Rinpoche who were hastily abducted for no apparent reason on May 17, 1995, by The People's Republic of China (PRC).

His Holiness The Panchen Lama who is turning 14 years old today, traditionally, would be celebrating His birthday with the Monks of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery and the Tibetan people. But that's not the case today, since the 2nd highest spiritual leader of Tibet is celebrating His birthday without any freedom and apart from the Tibetan community. This is an unthinkable atrocity against an important spiritual leader, and more significantly, a young teenager.

Historically, the lineage of the Panchen Lamas has been instrumental in the flourishing of Buddhism in Tibet. Regardless of the fact that Gendhun Choekyi Nyima is not free and able to directly teach and guide Buddhist practitioners throughout the world, His influence and greatness remains strong in the hearts of all of us. Therefore, Buddhism and activism on behalf of Tibet has gained greater momentum as a result of His Holiness The Dalai Lama recognizing Gendhun Choekyi Nyima as the Panchen Lama at the young age of 6 years old.

This relationship between Tibet's two highest leaders began in the 16th century when the 4th Panchen Lama recognized the 5th Dalai Lama. At that time, The Panchen Lama was responsible for giving religious training to the young 5th Dalai Lama. When The 10th Panchen Lama mysteriously died in Tibet on January 28, 1989, His Holiness the current Dalai Lama through various rigorous Buddhist rituals, prayers, consultation, and investigation began searching for this reincarnation. Finally, on May 14, 1995, His Holiness announced that Gendhun Choekyi Nyima was the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama. A few days later, this 6 year old child was abducted by The PRC and His whereabouts have been unknown since that time. As a result, the young Panchen Lama has not been able to receive His proper Buddhist training and education from His teachers including The Dalai Lama, nor directly serve His people, Monastery, and followers.

Since Gendhun Choekyi Nyima's disappearance on May 17, 1995, there has been a massive campaign to secure His release. It is essential to understand that this effort to free the 11th Panchen Lama is not simply about Tashi Lhunpo Monastery's desire to reunite with its' leader. Rather, this campaign is motivated by the wishes and goals of the 6 million Tibetans in Tibet and in-exile, and their supporters to secure the immediate freedom of this 14 year old spiritual leader.

Therefore, we at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, on behalf of the 6 million Tibetans worldwide and our supporters, respectfully appeal to the government and human rights' leaders of the free world to demand that The PRC respond immediately to the following:

1) Why was The Panchen Lama, Gendhun Choekyi Nyima, abducted?
2) Where is The Panchen Lama, Gendhun Choekyi Nyima, and when He will be free?
3) How is Gendhun Choekyi Nyima's health?
4) When will officials from the Tibetan Government In-Exile, Human Rights organizations, and other government officials from the free world have access to Gendhun Choekyi Nyima?
5) Where and how is Chadrel Rinpoche, the regent of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery and Lama who led the search for the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama?
6) When will Chadrel Rinpoche be released?

We deeply express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to our supporters all over the world who have tirelessly worked and continue to work to free The Panchen Lama. We also wish Gendhun Choekyi Nyima a very Happy Birthday! With our prayers for an early release of The Panchen Lama, His family, and Chadrel Rinpoche, and an early end of the suffering of the Tibetan people. And also our prayers for the long life of The Dalai Lama and The Panchen Lama to continue to benefit all living beings.

Tashi Lhunpo Monastery
Bylakuppe, India
April 25, 2003

Tashi Lhunpo org.

The Eighth Consecutive Year Since Gedhun Choekyi Nyima disappeared

Dharamsala 25 April:

The XI Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima turns 14 years old today. This marks eight years since the Chinese government took him into custody in May 1995. While the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) commemorates his birth anniversary, it remains concerned about his continued detention. TCHRD is appalled that neither the United Nations nor any governments abroad has been able to achieve anything to date on this case apart from the rhetoric response from the Chinese government such as, "they [Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his parents] are leading normal lives and enjoying perfect health". That a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council can lay claim to be holding the world's youngest political prisoner is a situation which demands clear consensus and decisive action on the part of the international community.

On 14 May 1995, His Holiness the Dalai Lama recognised Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama. Three days later, the boy and his parents disappeared from their home. In December 1995, the PRC government appointed its own Panchen Lama, a boy named Gyaltsen Norbu. A year later, in May 1996, the PRC admitted to holding the XIth Panchen Lama "at the request of his parents" for "he was at the risk of being kidnapped by separatists and his security had been threatened". Thus, despite its rejection of the Dalai Lama's authority in recognising the Panchen Lama, and its refusal to acknowledge Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the true reincarnation, the Chinese government admitted the detention of the child. It is difficult to understand why the Chinese authorities would go to such lengths to provide "security" for a child who they consider to be just an ordinary boy.

In May 1997, the PRC launched "patriotic education" campaign in monasteries and nunneries in the Tibetan region. Under the auspices of that campaign, the PRC promotes recognition of the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama and denunciation of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. Reports from refugees fleeing Tibet, and from independent travellers, indicate that pictures of the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama are displayed prominently in the main monasteries and tourist hotels of Tibet. Conversely, pictures of the Dalai Lama and Gedhun Choekyi Nyima are banned throughout Tibet. Many high level delegations and offices have expressed concern over the Panchen Lama's continued detention, including the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. However, the PRC continue to deny any outside access to the child and his parents. In October 2000, during a round of human rights dialogue with China in London, British officials raised the issue of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima.

The photographs did not answer the basic questions asked of the Panchen Lama such as his whereabouts and well-being. We believe that these photos are not only a totally inadequate strategy to allay international concern, but that any form of perceived appeasement is an empty gesture. In August 2001, a Polish parliamentary delegation visiting Lhasa was told in response to repeated questions that gedhun Choekyi Nyima was healthy and was with his family. The delegation was promised photos of the boy within six weeks but never received them.

Although China may have escaped condemnation on their human rights record at the 59th United Nations Human Rights Commission this year, the disappearance of a young boy evidences the falsity of China's claim to respect religious freedom in Tibet. TCHRD once again appeal to the international community to put pressure on China to release the young boy. We call on the PRC to allow an independent enquiry team to visit the child and verify his health and living conditions.

Concern over Panchen Lama's detention

Tribune - India

Dharamsala, April 25 The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, while celebrating the 15th birthday of 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Cheokyi Nyima here today, expressed its concern about his continued detention for last eight years by the Chinese authorities.

The centre in a statement issued here said, was appalling that neither the United Nations nor any world government had been able to achieve anything concrete in the matter. The centre said Niyma was probably the youngest political prisoner in the world and urged the international community to take steps to ensure his release.

Meanwhile, local Tibetan organisations today celebrated the 15th birthday of Gedhun Cheokyi Nyima who had been declared as the 11th Panchen Lama by the Dalai Lama. Special prayer meetings were held for the long life and good health of the Lama whose whereabouts are not known.

Young Tibetan children in the age group of 10-14 today participated in a discussion on child?s rights organised at McLeodganj today.

Representatives of the Tibetan Women Association, the Tibetan Youth Congress and the National Democratic Party of Tibet have appealed to the international community and to the Chinese authorities to ensure the safety of 11th Panchen Lama. They also demanded that human right activists should be allowed to meet the Lama and his family.

NGOs urge Chinese govt. to let Tibetan delegations meet Panchen Lama

Chronological events surrounding the recognition of the 11th Panchen Lama's

1385-1438 1st Panchen Lama, Khedup Gelek Pelsang
1439-1504 2nd Panchen Lama, Sonam Choklang
1505-1564 3rd Panchen Lama, Wensa Lobsang Dhondup
1570-1662 4th Panchen Lama, Lobsang Chokyi Gyaltsen
1663-1737 5th Panchen Lama, Lobsang Yeshi
1738-1780 6th Panchen Lama, Palden Yeshi
1782-1854 7th Panchen Lama, Tenpe Nyima
1855-1882 8th Panchen Lama, Tenpe Wangchuk
1883-1937 9th Panchen Lama, Choekyi Nyima
1938-1989 10th Panchen Lama, Choekyi Gyaltse
28 January 1989 the 10th Panchen Lama passed away.

25 April 1989 11th Panchen Lama, Tenzin Gedhun Yeshi Tinley Phunstok
(Gedun Choekyi Nyima) was born.

14 May 1995 XIV Dalai Lama recognised Gedun Choekyi Nyima
as the XI Panchen Lama of Tibet.

17 May 1995
Since 17 May 1995 Panchen Lama has been missing when he was just six years old.

29 Nov. 1995 Chinese appointed a fake Panchen Lama recognised by themselves.

20 May 1996 Due to international pressure, Chinese government finally admitted that they are holding the XI Panchen Lama recognised by HH Dalai Lama. 1998 and 1999 issues of Panchen Lama's whereabouts is raised in the assembly of UN and US parliament.

Nov. 1999 once again Chinese admitted that this boy child Panchen Lama is under their protection but there was not a single proof of Panchen Lama's health condition and whereabouts.

From then there was no information about XI Panchen Lama in spite of all Tibetans and International pressure. From 25 April 2003, Panchen Lama is 14 years old and it's been eight years since he has been missing.

Demand for immediate Release of the Youngest Political Prisoner!

Gedhun Chokyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama was born on 25th April 1989 to father Kunchok Phuntsok and mother Dechen Choedon of Lhari County of Nagchu Prefecture in Tibet. On 14 May 1995 His Holiness the Dalai Lama recognised him as the true reincarnation of 10th Panchen Lama. Just after three days of his official announcement of reincarnation, on 17 May 1995 the Chinese Government abducted the 11th Panchen Lama and his parents.

Nine years had passed but still no authentic news or any sort of information concerning his whereabouts and well being is known or heard at all. We find it very essential that the 10th Panchen Lama be given all the traditional and religious education, as he should have been like every divine religious figure.

We always do remain grateful to all the International Govt. and NGOs for having their earnest concern with regard to the issue of Release of 11th Panchen Lama and expects the same sincere contribution and genuine enthusiasm in the years ahead. The Former UN High Commissioner For Human Rights Madam Mary Robinson had recurrently asked in person during her official visit to China and appealed Chinese Govt. for the release of the world's youngest political prisoner before the international arena.

Owing to this grave issue we strongly urge the Chinese govt. to allow Human Right Activists to meet in person the Panchen Lama and his parents and bring Panchen Lama on the International Platform so to confirm their declaration that Panchen Lama is in sound health. We also urge the Chinese Government to allow the Tibetans in Tibet and the Tibetan delegations to have an audience with 11th Panchen Lama who is recognised by the Dalai Lama. Only then will Tibetans and supporters of Tibet believe that the universal declared 11th Panchen is in state of Health.

Day Program:

In the morning every monastery in Dharamshala is praying for the sound health and long life of 11th Panchen Lama, as requested by us.

At 4 p.m., discussion on Child!&s Rights is being organised at Mcleod Day school. Participants are of children between 10-14 years of age.

At 7 p.m., candle light procession starting from Mcleod Bus stand.