Dharamshala, April 21 - The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) in conjunction with the International Tibet Support Network (ITSN) has launched a worldwide campaign for the release of the 11th Panchen Lama Gendun Choekyi Nyima. The Washington based organisation will organise drawing and poetry competition for children, worldwide vigils and virtual vigil (lighting butter lamps on a website), signature campaigns and email petition campaigns.
The competitions will last between 17 May and 17 October. Prizes will be awarded to the winners on 14 November coinciding with the Childrens day.
The organisation has asked people to call on their governments to condemn China for its actions and urge the United Nations Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan, to demand that independent UN monitors be given immediate access to Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and that he be released from Chinese custody.
The ICT will include a few drawings by children in a greeting card, which will be addressed to Mr. Kofi Anan.
"Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the six year-old boy identified by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the 11th Panchen Lama, disappeared on 17 May 1995. The Chinese government later admitted to holding the boy and his family in protective custody. Despite repeated appeals to gain access to the boy, no international agency or human rights organisation has been granted contact with the young Panchen Lama or his family. To date, their well-being and whereabouts remain unconfirmed," says ICTs website.
"In an attempt to establish their pre-eminence in all "internal affairs" of China, political or otherwise, China installed a different boy and proclaimed him to be the 11th Panchen Lama"