By Tenzin Dharpo
10th Panchen Lama Choekyi Gyaltsen. file photo
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 29: Exile Tibetans in India and overseas commemorated the 30th death anniversary of a prominent Tibetan religious figure and a key political opposition to Chines rule inside Tibet, the 10th Panchen Lama, over the weekend.
A Tibetan collective, Regional Dhomay Association based in Dhondupling, Clement Town in Dehradun, observed the commemoration of the 30th death anniversary of the 10th Panchen Lama, His Eminence Gedun Choekyi Gyaltsen on 26 January 2019. The 42nd Sakya Trizin Ratna Vajra Rinpoche, the Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile Pema Jugney, Kalon Karma Gelek Yuthok, Kasur Kriti Rinpoche, Parliamentarian Thupten Lungrig, Parliamentarian Dhondup Tashi, and Alag Yongzin Rinpoche and other dignitaries attended the event.
Speaker Pema Jungney said, “10th Panchen Rinpoche is the one among the lineage of Panchen Lamas who tirelessly worked on both religious and political affairs of Tibet under the repressive policy of China. The untimely passing away of Panchen Lama is a great loss for the people of Tibet to reconnect and improve the relationship between Tibet and China.”
On the same day in Tibetans in New York, US held a commemorative event organised by the ‘North America Panchen Gratitude Committee’ for the former Panchen Lama. Arija Rinpoche, NA Representative Ngodup Tsering, USCIRF Chair Tenzin Dorjee, Kasur Namgyal Tenthong among others joined in on the commemorative proceedings. A panel including Chinese and Tibetan experts spoke on the life and works of the Tibetan figure of resistance and nationality.
Last month, in a video message, the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama remembered the 10th Panchen Lama as a true patriot for his works to safeguard Tibetan identity and rights in the face of China’s repression, particularly during the regime’s harshest offensive.
The Tibetan lama who is remembered as a leader for the Tibetan people penned the famous 70,000 character petition documenting China’s systematic attempt to undermine Tibetan language, culture and identity. He was imprisoned and later died under mysterious circumstances in January 1989 at the age of 50. Tibetans say that he was poisoned to death by the Chinese government.
His reincarnation Gedun Choekyi Nyima, selected by the Dalai Lama, was abducted by the Chinese government in 1995 and has not been seen since. China appointed their own Panchen Lama to which Tibetans regard as the fake Panchen.