Dharamshala: - A procession took place in McLeod Ganj Main Square on 17 May in order to recognise the 19 years since the Panchen Lama, Gendun Choekyi Nyima was kidnapped at the tender age of 6 along with his family and caretaker.
It has been 19 years since the abduction of the 11th Panchen Lama. On 17th May, 1995, at just 6 years old Tibetan boy was imprisoned for no crime but purely for political reasons; that made him the world's youngest political prisoner.
Students for a Free Tibet-India and the Dharamshala chapters of Tibetan Youth Congress, and Tibetan Women's Association, were the organisations leading the campaign and have demanded the Chinese government to declare the 11th Panchen Lama's status by 25th April, 2015.
The 10th Panchen Lama Choekyi Gyaltsen died on 28th January, 1989, his sudden death is also suspected to be a planned murder by the Chinese government. The 11th Panchen Lama was born on April 25, 1989 at Lhari Zong of Nagchu District in Tibet.
He is the son of Kunchok Phuntsok and Dechen Choedon, on the 15th day of the third month of the Tibetan wood pig year (14th May, 1995). Gendun Choekyi Nyima was announced as the 11th Panchen Lama by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and at that time he was only six years old and now he is 25. Now, another boy occupies Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama that was handpicked by Beijing.
There has not been a singular bit of news about the wellbeing or the whereabouts of the 11th Panchen Lama since Zhang Qingli, the former secretary of the Communist Party of the Tibet Autonomous Region made a brief statement on him. Zhang Qingli told the public that Tibetan boy is doing well; yet, they refuse anyone to access him.
Tenzin Dolker of the Regional Tibetan Women's Association said: "The importance of the 25 year old Panchen Lama is that both the Panchen Lama and Dalai Lama play significant roles in giving recognition to each other's reincarnation and also imparting important religious teachings. Therefore the Chinese government has been keeping absolute silence on the whereabouts of the present Panchen Lama in order to satisfy their vicious plans to manufacture their own Dalai Lama in the future."
Many of the international media and his faithful followers doubt his survival and start debating on 'what we have to do if 11th Panchen Gendun Choekyi Nyima is no longer alive?' This enforced disappearance of the Panchen Lama for 19 years has saddened the hearts of all his followers.
The TWA expressed their demand for news of the Panchen Lama's wellbeing, 'We the Tibetan Women's Association encompassed of 17,000 members across the globe call on the Chinese leadership and the secretary of Tibet Autonomous Region, Chen Quanguo to disclose the whereabouts of the 25-year old Panchen Lama of Tibet. We demand you to declare Gendun Choekyi Nyima's status by 25th April, 2015.'
Even two decades after the Chinese government abducted Gendun Choekyi Nyima it has in no way deterred the Tibetan people of their faith and belief in him, and Tibet's continue to admire him as strong figure of their identity.
"In order to capture authority over religious leaders of the Tibetan people and thereby political power, the Chinese government has appropriated the process of recognizing reincarnate Lamas" said Nyima Yangtso, Regional Tibetan Youth Congress. She further adds, "The PRC made amendments in their law and incorporated article 8 and 15 which reserves absolute authority over the recognizing of any lama in China and Tibet."
On 12th November, 2013, China was re-elected into the United Nations Human Rights Council and this election brings obligation to China to improve the human right situation in both China and Tibet. 'We remind China to implement its pledges to improve the human rights situation inside Tibet,' said the TWA.