Tibetan exiles asks China to release Panchen Lama

April 26th, 2008 - 7:47 pm ICT by admin  

Dharamsala, April 26 (IANS) A day after the 11th Panchen Lama turned nineteen, Tibetan exiles have demanded his immediate release from Chinese captivity, a spokesman of the Tibetan government-in-exile said here Saturday. “Tibetans have sent memorandums to the Chinese government and the UN asking for the release of Gedun Chokyi Nyima, who has been recognised by the Dalai Lama as the 11th Panchen Lama,” said Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

“Thousands of Tibetans here and in other parts of India marked Friday with prayer meetings and candle light vigils celebrating the Panchen Lama’s birthday,” he said.

The Tibetan prime minister said: “We must firmly hold on to our beliefs, for the day when the Panchen Lama will return to his seat at Tashi Lhunpo monastery.”

“The Panchen Lama was last seen in May 1995, barely days after the Dalai Lama proclaimed him as the Panchen Lama. We believe he is under house arrest along with his family at a place close to Beijing,” said a spokesman of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

“Despite repeated appeals of visiting foreign delegations, no international agency or human rights organisation has been given permission to meet him to verify his well being,” the official said.

“The Chinese foreign ministry said last year that the Panchen Lama was ‘leading a normal life and free life and does not want to be disturbed’,” the official claimed.

The Tibetan government-in-exile is based out of Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh and is not recognised by any country.

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