We, the Chhode Tashi Lhunpo Cultural Society and Central Association for His Holiness the Panchen Lama on behalf of all the Tibetan people with great humility wish happiness and prosperity to 11th Panchen Lama His Holiness Tenzin Gendun Yeshi Thinley Phuntsok Pal Sangpo, the emanation of Amitabha, on the occasion of His 19th Birthday.
Throughout the history of Tibet, the lineages of His Holiness Panchen Lama together with the lineages of His Holiness the Dalai Lama have made an unparalleled contribution in both the spiritual and temporal field towards the welfare and betterment of Tibetan people. In particular the 10th Panchen Lama made the greatest sacrifice of his precious life for the revival of Buddhism and welfare of the Tibetan people inside Tibet. Therefore, even today, almost 20 years since his death, when Tibetans suffer, the 10th Panchen Lama is still remembered with great affection. All Tibetans whether in exile or inside Tibet will persist in their peaceful demands for the release of the 11th Panchen Lama, Gedun Choekyi Nyima, recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, even if their own precious lives have to be sacrificed.
Since 10th March 2008, first in Lhasa and then throughout all regions of Tibet, peaceful protests and demonstrations have been held against the Chinese repressive policies of ethnic cleansing and cultural genocide. During these demonstrations, three resolutions came to the fore, based on justice and upholding the principal of non-violence towards the Chinese Government, which are to free Tibet, to reinstate HH Dalai Lama and to release the 11th Panchen Lama Gedun Choekyi Nyima.
In spite of the peaceful nature of the protests and demonstrations, the Chinese Government reacted with the unprovoked use of lethal weapons, forcibly putting the peaceful demonstrators behind bars, some even losing their lives. Tibetans inside Tibet are experiencing an unprecedented hellish situation.
Normally, a birthday celebration is an occasion for joy. However, for us this is not the case, as the whereabouts of the 11th Panchen Lama Gedun Choekyi Nyima are not known since the Chinese Government forcibly abducted him thirteen years ago. On August 1 2007, Lithang Rungye Adrag made an appeal for his release, but no reply has been received. Therefore, although today we are celebrating the 19th Birthday of 11th Panchen Lama Gedun Choekyi Nyima, we are experiencing a double feeling of sadness.
In April 2007, around the time of the 18th Birthday of the 11th Panchen Lama, the Central Association for His Holiness the Panchen Lama, on the recommendation of both the Tibetan Exile-Cabinet and the Parliament, spiritual activities such as prayer meetings were carried out by spiritual teachers with support from their abbots and lamas in the Tibetan community and monastic institutions, in order to accumulate collective merits and to eliminate negative obscurations affecting HH the Dalai Lama and HH the Panchen Lama. In addition, with the support of eight NGOs, the Central Association for His Holiness the Panchen Lama sent memoranda to the Peoples Republic of China (PRC), the United Nations Organization (UNO), Human Rights Commission, and to world religious organizations. Specifically we sent a memorandum with a strongly worded message to President Hu Jintao demanding to know the exact whereabouts of the 11th Panchen Lama Gedun Choekyi Nyima, insisting on his immediate release and that he should be educated in his monastery so as to be able to carry out his studies in the footsteps of his predecessors to fulfill the aspirations of the Tibetan people.
The Central Association for the Panchen Lama understands from previous PRC information that Gedun Choekyi Nyima is being held outside Tibet itself. However, in June 2007, Nyima Tsering, the Vice-chairman of TAR gave a statement, reported in Shing-hwa newspaper on 31st June, that 11th Panchen Lama Gedun Choekyi Nyima is studying in a middle school in the Autonomous Region and his relatives are also studying with him, while some are working. This contradictory information issued by the Chinese-run official and newspapers is unsatisfactory.
We remain extremely concerned about the whereabouts of the Panchen Lama, the safety of Chadrel Rinpoche and, in particular about the recent crackdown and persecution of Tibetans peacefully demonstrating in support of the three resolutions, and the resulting immense suffering both physical and mental, of those involved. We still hope that the Chinese Government will abandon their restricted world view and negotiate with HH the Dalai Lama, and we support his policy of universal responsibility and for the way of the middle path in resolving the Tibet issue for the betterment of both peoples.
We have been making representations about the safety of the Panchen Lama since 17th May 1995 through the Human Rights Commission, the UNO and Foreign Chinese Consulates to the PRC. The PRC has not provided any information relating to the issue. If the PRC continues to pursue this policy, the stability, solidarity, the people’s faith in, and the international image of, the PRC will be in doubt, which will have a negative affect on her culture, economy and politics. The PRC must cast away the petty politics of defeat and victory and enemy and friend as a dichotomy which contradicts moral values and which is not reality.
Peaceful and justice-loving people of the world including Tibetans will not be prepared to accept the PRC’s silence. We request the Human Rights Commission, the UNO and leaders of the world’s religions to take the lead in putting pressure on the PRC to bring about a just outcome to this issue.
We pray that the Chinese Government will release the 11th Panchen Lama in accordance with the aspirations of the Tibetan people, and grant the Tibetan people rights according to International law, and according to the constitution of the PRC under the Articles of Minority Self-determination. We make the following five demands of the Government of the PRC:
- Make clear the whereabouts of the 11th Panchen Lama Gedun Choekyi Nyima;
- Allow the enthronement of the 11th Panchen Lama Gedun Choekyi Nyima at the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery and allow him to take advantage of the traditional education to follow in the foot-steps of his predecessors;
- Immediately stop the systematic repression and persecution of Tibetan people being carried out inside Tibet and negotiate with HH the Dalai Lama on the Tibet issue without any pre-conditions;
- Release all the Tibetan political prisoners including Chadrel Rinpoche who have not been found guilty of any crime by any law of the land; and
- Allow access to independent fact-finding delegations from organizations such as Amnesty International, The Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontiers to assess the real situation in Tibet following the recent unrest, and let the world know the Truth.
We support the broad concept of universal responsibility initiated by both HH the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama and believe that the solution of the middle path must be commenced for the welfare of both the peoples of Tibet and China.
On this auspicious day we always remember the support and encouragement we have received from the many organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, and individuals at all levels. We are deeply grateful and very much indebted to you for your support. We pray that your efforts will not be in vain. Our own efforts continue, and monks of exile-Tashi Lhunpo Monastery are on hunger strike in South India and in New Delhi in an effort to draw attention to the emergency situation inside Tibet, and to underline our demand for the ratification of the five demands. We solemnly hope that these five points will immediately be accepted and will receive support from the international community.
Finally, we pray that the Tibet issue is resolved quickly, that HH the Dalai Lama and HH the Panchen Lama are able to meet together and that the Buddha-dharma revives in the Land of Snow thereby allowing peace and happiness to prevail in the five continents.
Chhode Tashi Lhunpo Cultural Society
Central Association for HH the Panchen Lama
Date: 25th April 2008