Dharamsala: Tibetans today observe the 22nd birthday of the 11th Panchen Lama – Gedhun Choekyi Nyima – Tibetans, Tibet Supporters, and Buddhists all over the world are deeply concerned about his well-being. Since 1995, he has been missing with his family for 16 years after being recognized as the 11th Panchen Lama by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
In March 2010 Padma Choling (Pema Thinley), Chinese-appointed Governor of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), told reporters that “Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family are now living a good life as ordinary citizens in Tibet.”
“After 16 years, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is still nowhere to be found. We are immensely concerned whether he is still alive or not,” said Chime Yungdung, President of National Democratic Party of Tibet. ”We demand the Chinese leaders to provide evidence of his whereabouts.”
A number of human rights mechanisms including the UN Committee Against Torture, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, as well as the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, have expressed their concerns on his disappearance. ”China has violated the The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance by abducting Gedhun Choekyi Nyima at the age of 6,” said Tenzin Choedon, National Director of Students for a Free Tibet, India. “We urge the International community to hold China accountable and pressurize them for the immediate release of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima.”
We, the undersigned 5 Tibetan NGOs will start collecting signature petitions beginning from today calling Zhu Weiqun, the Vice Minister of the United Front Works Department of the Chinese Communist Party, to disclose information on the Panchen Lama’s existence.