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2 august 2011 1Dharamshala: A visit to Tibet's Amdo region by the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama has been postponed due to widespread opposition from both the lay and monastic communities in the area.

Tibetans consider 21-year old Gyaincain Norbu to be a false Panchen Lama. The real Panchen Lama, they believe, is Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, recognized in May 1995 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the true reincarnation. Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, along with his family, has disappeared and is thought to be detained by Chinese authorities.

The Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama was scheduled to visit Labrang Monastery in Tibet's Amdo region in late July. Labrang Monastery, a key institution in Tibetan Buddhism, was a major site of the demonstrations against Chinese rule in 2008.

Sources in the area say the visit has been postponed until August or September.

Radio Free Asia quoted a source in the area: "Chinese authorities ordered Tibetan staff at the Sangchu (in Chinese, Xiahe) county offices to be ready to welcome him joyously, and offer scarves and prostrations," he said.

The source also said that Chinese authorities had threatened to cut jobs and reduce salaries if the local people refused to comply with their demands.

Extensive security measures had also been taken in preparation for the visit; local sources say that over 1,000 police and security forces had been stationed outside of the monastery.

Despite these threats and efforts, Tibetan locals still expressed reluctance to welcome the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama. Apparently because of this reluctance, the preparations have been postponed.

Tibetans in the area had a similar reaction when the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama came to the area a few years back. RFA quoted another source: "A few years ago, the Chinese government brought the Panchen Lama to Labrang, but the local people refused to attend. This year, too, many Tibetans are saying that they won't come out to show respect,"

Gyancain Norbu appeared in May 2010 as a national committee member of the top advisory body at the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and he currently serves as the vice president of China's state-run Buddhist association.

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