News and Views on Tibet

Exile Tibetans rue Panchen Lama’s disappearance 20 years ago

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter

By Tenzin Dharpo

DHARAMSHALA, May 17: Dubbed the world’s youngest political prisoner, the 11th Panchen Lama was abducted days after being declared the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Rinpoche by the Dalai Lama in May 1995. Now over 20 years without any concrete information about the 11th Panchen Lama, the Tibetans still remain concerned about the wellbeing of the boy. A coalition of non-governmental organizations and the exile government voice the same cry that has since been a staple on every 17th of May, the day he was abducted by the Chinese government.

The coalition of Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, Students for a Free Tibet and Regional Tibetan Women’s Association organized the “letters to Panchen Lama” and an open marathon race commemorative of the day.

The Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association held a panel discussion over the Panchen Lama’s disappearance where educationist and author Prof. P.N Sharma and Ms Kalden Tsomo from the CTA’s DIIR spoke.

A similar discussion is to be hosted online on the importance of the Panchen Lama’s lineage for the Tibetan society and Tibetan freedom struggle with Dorjee Tsetan, SFT Asia Director and former monk of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Tibet, Sonam Tsering at the panel.

Gendun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama has not been seen or heard for 21 years as of today. China’s rigid denial of the forced disappearance was replaced by a rare admission by China last September. “The reincarnated child Panchen Lama you mentioned is being educated, living a normal life, growing up healthily and does not wish to be disturbed,” said Norbu Dunzhub, a member of the Tibet Autonomous Region’s United Front Work Department.

Lobsang Tsetan, the Program Coordinator for the SFT India told Phayul, “Today, through this initiative, we have made kids the same age as the Panchen Rinpoche during his abduction to write letters to him,” indicative of a symbolic gesture that the Tibetan people have not elapsed from the tragedy.

Wangdhen Kyab, President of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, sees the case as single-handedly eroding what little faith and hope Tibetans have of the Chinese government. “Till today his whereabouts remain a question which is evidence of the Chinese government’s regime (working) as a gang of bandits. Chinese government and its leaders can never be bestowed with our hope and trust,” he said.

The Tibetan Youth Congress , to mark the day, flagged off their cycle rally today from north Indian city of Dehradun, culminating in Delhi on the May 23.

Experts say, the civil society’s push for global diplomacy pressuring China in bringing Gendun Choekyi Nyima in the view of the world is treading a slow pace, and in the back ground, the Panchen Erdeni, as he is also known, continues to recede behind Beijing’s rhetoric and the pleas of the Tibetan people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *