Mr. Penpa Tsering, the speaker of Tibetan Parliament in exile, wrote an open letter to Chinese president Hu Jin Tao expressing the Tibetan people's shared concern for the well being of the 11th Panchen Lama. The speaker's letter said:"According to media reports, a Japanese journalist Yoichi Shimatsu had at a conference at Qinghua University in Beijing stated that His Eminence Panchen Rinpoche Gedhun Choekyi Nyima had died of cancer some years ago, which is in total contradiction to your government's stated position that all is well with H.E. Panchen Rinpoche."
"All the Tibetans are deeply concerned and worried about the statement if it is true. Therefore we call on you to make it clear to the whole world whether H.E. Panchen Rinpoche is still alive or not and if H.E. Panchen Rinpoche is alive, details of his well being and whereabouts should be made public. We also urge you to reinstate H.E. Panchen Rinpoche Gedhun Choekyi Nyima to his rightful position," Speaker Penpa Tsering said.
Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche, accused of involvement in last March's peaceful protest was arrested on 18th March 2008 after nuns from the monasteries where he presided demonstrated on the streets of the Tibetan Capital. Rinpoche was allowed to select his own lawyers, marking the first time that a defendant has not been assigned public defenders selected by the courts.
Li Fangping, Rinpoche's lawyer said: "They notified me that the date to announce a verdict had been postponed. There is no new date. They said they would let me know in due course."
Signed and sealed now the international community must wait to see how the Chinese government receives the appeal letter from the Tibetan parliament and exile, and weather they deliver a fair verdict to Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche.
After the deadly Chinese crackdown on Tibetan peaceful demonstrators in all parts of Tibet, over 220 Tibetans killed, 1,294 injured and 290 sentenced, more than 5,600 were arrested or detained and over 1,000 disappeared, but there is still not any explanation for those Tibetans. Moreover, the Chinese court in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, western Tibet sentenced five Tibetans to death, 3 death penalties, two to suspended death penalties, two to life in prison and one jailed for ten years in this month on charges of arson causing death and firing shops.
By: S. Hart, reporter for The Tibet Post International