The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) has drawn attention to the enforced disappearance of the Panchen Lama, Gedun Choekyi Nyima, shedding light on the ongoing human rights concerns in Tibet. The CECC emphasized the need for China to end restrictions and allow international representatives to visit the Panchen Lama and his family.
The issue dates back to May 14, 1995, when the Dalai Lama officially recognized 6-year-old Gedun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, a highly respected figure in Tibetan Buddhism. However, Chinese government officials swiftly denounced the Dalai Lama's announcement as "illegal and invalid," leading to the detention of Gedun Choekyi Nyima and his parents on May 17 of the same year.
Since then, the Panchen Lama and his family have been held incommunicado in undisclosed locations, with no verifiable information about their well-being. The Chinese government oversaw the selection and installation of another boy, Gyaltsen Norbu, as the Panchen Lama in November 1995, a move that has sparked widespread resentment within the Tibetan secular and monastic communities.
The CECC's highlighting of this issue underscores the ongoing human rights violations and lack of transparency surrounding the enforced disappearance of the Panchen Lama. The commission urges the Chinese government to end the restrictions imposed on Gedun Choekyi Nyima and his family, allowing them the freedom to express their wishes and enabling international representatives to visit them.
Both the United States and other governments have consistently called on China to address the concerns regarding the Panchen Lama and his family, stressing the importance of respecting their human rights and religious freedom. The international community has expressed solidarity with the Tibetan people, demanding transparency and justice in this case.
Gedun Choekyi Nyima was born on April 25, 1989, in Lhari county, Nagchu prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). His parents, Dechen Choedron and Konchog Phuntsog, have also been held incommunicado since their detention in 1995. The continued denial of access to international organizations, preventing them from visiting the Panchen Lama and his family, raises further concerns about their well-being and fundamental rights.
The CECC's focus on the enforced disappearance of the Panchen Lama serves as a reminder of the unresolved issue and the urgent need for China to address the concerns raised by the international community. Calls for transparency, accountability, and respect for human rights continue to grow, emphasizing the significance of protecting the religious and cultural rights of Tibetans.
Edited and collated by Team TRC