By Tenzin Dharpo
Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland. file photo
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 17: Canadian Minister for Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland has said that her government has approached Beijing in letting the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief to visit Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, who has been held incommunicado since he was just six years old.
She was responding to queries by Parliamentary Friends of Tibet Vice-Chair Randall Garrison last week, who asked on the progress made by the government on the Canadian delegation that is to go to China.
The Minister said the Canadian government is “closely monitoring the cases of Tibetan human rights defenders who have been detained. This includes seeking trial attendance where possible,” in response to questions on how the Government has applied its “Guidelines on Supporting Human Rights Defenders” in the case of Tibet.
Minister Freeland reiterated that the “Government of Canada will continue to urge the Government of China to respect the rights of ethnic Tibetans and to take steps to improve the human rights situation in Tibetan areas” and “has consistently advocated for substantive and meaningful dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama or his representatives to work toward a resolution of issues acceptable to both sides.”
In September 2015, Norbu Dunzhub, a member of the Tibet Autonomous Region's United Front Work Department told reporters, “The reincarnated child Panchen Lama you mentioned is being educated, living a normal life, growing up healthily and does not wish to be disturbed," admitting that the Panchen Lama picked by the Dalai Lama and revered by Tibetans as the real Panchen is alive, after years of denial.
The reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama who died under mysterious circumstances, Gendun Choekyi Nyima was recognized by the Dalai Lama on May 14, 1995. The Chinese government installed another boy, Gyaltsen Norbu, as the Panchen Lama although he is considered a mere figure head and a ‘Fake Panchen lama’ by the Tibetan Buddhists.