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Tibetans want Panchen Lama freed

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Mysore, April 25 – Over 500 Tibetans of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (RTYC) and Regional Tibetan Women’s Congress (RTWC) today staged a demonstration here seeking the release of the Panchen Lama, Tranzin Gendun Chokyi Niyama, held by the Chinese.

The procession, which commenced from the Town Hall, passed through the main roads of the city. The demonstrators drew attention to the alleged human rights violations in Tibet.

The RTYC members depicted the tribulations of the Panchen Lama by means of a tableau wherein a boy, representing Panchen Lama, is surrounded by gun-toting Chinese.

A memorandum was addressed to the Chairman of the United Nations Commission for Children’s Rights demanding, among others, his immediate intervention to secure the release of the Panchen Lama and other political leaders, and restoration of human rights.

Gendun Chokyi Nyima was allegedly abducted by the Chinese Government on May 17, 1995 soon after the Dalai Lama recognised him as the 11th Panchen Lama in accordance with the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. His whereabouts are shrouded in mystery. The Tibetans expressed fear that the Chinese Government was preventing Gendun Chokyi Nyima from receiving Tibetan education, and was instead making attempts to transform him into a communist Chinese citizen. The child was isolated from world contact and the last information received was in a statement by the TAR Party Committee to the Taiwanese Press in September 2000 which stated that the Panchen Lama was attending an elementary school and his family was fine.

The protesters said the Chinese Government had refused to accept the Panchen Lama, and instead installed a boy of their choice, Gylatsen Norbu, as the Panchen Lama. “We are against China’s interference in the religious rights of the Tibetan people,” they said. The Tibetans also sought the release of another political prisoner, Chadrel Rinpoche, who was arrested on charges of “plotting to split the country and leaking state secrets” and was sentenced to six years imprisonment.

The protest march was attended by RTYC and RTWA members from Bylakuppe, Hunsur, Kollegal, and Mysore.

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