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Tibetan delegation testifies before Canadian House of Commons

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Tibetan delegation testifies before the Canadian House of Commons on Thursday (Screengrab)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, May 7: The Tibetan delegation on their visit to Canada testified before the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, on the case of disappeared 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima on Thursday.

CTA President Penpa Tseing told the members of the Canadian committee in his opening remarks, “The Chinese government always says that he is healthy and hearty and he doesn’t want to be disturbed. So at least if there is some evidence of whether he’s alive or not, that would be soothing for the Tibetans.”

“We know that this is a political decision by the Chinese government because this also concerns the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama because there is reciprocal recognition of the incarnations between Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas. I personally feel that China made a big tactical mistake by not recognizing Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the young boy who was recognized by His Holiness. If China had done that, they would have the child under their control,” the Tibetan leader further said.

The abbot of the Tashi Lhunpo monastery in exile, Zeekgyab Rinpoche explained how the process of reincarnation played out, before the Chinese government took over the process in a bid to gain control over the Tibetan people, “In 1989, the 10th Panchen Lama died, suddenly and mysteriously, while in the town of Shigatse in Tibet, where our main Tashi Lhunpo monastery is located. Subsequently, as per the Buddhist convention, His Holiness Dalai Lama announced on May 14, 1995, his recognition of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima in Nagchu in Tibet, as the unmistaken reincarnation. This was also in accordance with the historical tradition of Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama, referred to as the father and son being involved with the recognition of each other, as well as in their teacher-student relationship.” Rinpoche also took to the task of detailing five-point pleas for the Canadian parliament in the hopes of finding the missing Panchen Lama.

With regards to the resumption of the Sino-Tibet dialogue, the Sikyong alleged lack of traction from the Chinese counterparts as the cause for the ensuing impasse despite numerous attempts by the Tibetan representatives. Penpa Tsering further dismissed Chinese government’s re-writing of narratives which insist on Tibet being a part of China from “time immemorial”. “Under President Xi, things look dire that even hope for negotiations in the immediate future seems remote,” he said, urging the committee to pass a motion on the resumption of Sino-Tibet dialogue with unanimous consent. 

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