Tibetans in Dharamshala signing petitions demanding the release of the XIth Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, 17 years to the day he was abducted along with his family. May 17, 2012. (Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
DHARAMSHALA, May 17: Tibetans in the exile headquarters of Dharamshala and all over India today organised various campaigns demanding the Chinese communist regime to release Gendhun Choekyi Nyima, the boy recognised by the Dalai Lama as the 11th Panchen Lama in 1995.
Thursday marked 17 years since the Chinese authorities secretly abducted Gendhun Choekyi Nyima along with his parents on May 17, 1995, three days after His Holiness the Dalai Lama declared him to be the reincarnation of the previous Panchen Lama. He was only six years old then.
Despite repeated international pressure, the Chinese government has refrained from disclosing the well-being and whereabouts of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, who turned 23 last month and his family.
The Tibetan Women’s Association launched a new post card campaign titled ‘Mother’s call for their son: Panchen Lama’ urging the Chinese government to provide information on Panchen Lama’s wellbeing and whereabouts.
“Gedhun Choekyi Nyima’s abduction is not only a violation of Tibet’s religious freedom but is also a human rights violation,” TWA said in a release.
The largest women’s organisation in exile has resolved to post at least 10,000 post cards from all over India with additional numbers from its regional chapter in Nepal and overseas, all signed by mothers.
The post cards have been addressed to Padma Thinley, Tibet’s Chinese appointed Governor, who in March 2010, had told reporters that “Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family are now living a good life as ordinary citizens in Tibet.”
“We have deliberately addressed the post cards to Padma Thinley with much anticipation that he will convey the post cards to His Holiness the 11th Panchen Lama,” the release said.
TWA also carried out a daylong petition drive addressed to Zhu Weiqun, Vice Minister of China’s United Front Work Department, demanding proofs of whereabouts and well being of the 11th Panchen Lama.
Later in the evening, the regional chapters of the Tibetan Youth Congress and the Women’s Association organised a screening of the documentary ‘Tibet’s Stolen Child’ followed by an open discussion.
Last month, an official in the Press Section of the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi had told Phayul over phone that the 11th Panchen Lama is in “mainland China along with his family.”
“He is currently in mainland China along with his family and he doesn’t want to be disturbed,” the press officer said while declining to give his name.