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  • 27 Apr, 2022
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China's colonial rule in Tibet is exemplified by its failure to impose a phoney Panchen Lama: Experts


A group of international experts on Tibet and China agreed that the Chinese government's decision to detain Tibet's six-year-old Panchen Lama and keep information about him a closely guarded state secret for the past 27 years has exposed the failure of their policies and seven-decade colonial rule over Tibet. It's hardly surprising, then, that China's failure to persuade Tibetans to embrace their phoney Panchen Lama has become a symbol of the Chinese Communist Party's policies and rule over Tibet.

Last night, several specialists from the United Kingdom, Germany, India, and Tibet took part in a worldwide webinar. It was held to commemorate the 33rd birthday of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, who was identified as the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama in Tibet in 1995 by the Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE) and the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC). The Chinese government quickly seized the six-year-old youngster since the Tibetan monks' search team had obtained the exiled Dalai Lama's consent for this child as the true incarnation. The Chinese overlords of Tibet crowned Gianchin Norbu, a five-year-old kid, as the 'true' incarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama. Despite repeated efforts from several international nations, the European Union, and leading human rights organisations, Beijing has refused to reveal any information concerning Gedhun's safety or location.

The Dalai Lama is Tibet's highest ruler and spiritual leader, according to Tibetan tradition. However, in spiritual concerns, Panchen Lama is second to him, and they both serve as each other's teachers after rebirth. The 10th Panchen Lama, who came under Chinese control shortly after the Dalai Lama fled to India, eventually became a harsh critic of Chairman Mao and the Communist Party's administration in Tibet for their atrocities against Tibetans. He was rehabilitated after 14 years of captivity in Chinese jails and labour camps. However, after publicly criticising China's inhumane treatment of Tibetans, he died in 1989 under unknown circumstances.

Although China has been attempting to establish legitimacy of its rule over Tibet by making lofty claims such as "liberation" and "development," Kai Mueller, an international jurist and Executive Director of the International Campaign for Tibet in Berlin, said that the Chinese leadership appears to be so miserable that they lack the courage to even share correct information about a child who has been held captive for the past 27 years.

Kai Mueller drew attention to various inconsistencies in the actions of Tibet's Communist Chinese rulers. One is that, while being atheists who despise religion, they are overly excited in delving into Tibetan religious rituals such as reincarnation and the enthronement of religious leaders such as the Panchen Lama.  "They have only revealed their powerlessness and dread to a tiny child in order to put their policy into operation." However, their attempts to impose a phoney 'Panchen Lama' on the Tibetan people and to garner the support of ordinary Tibetans for their puppet have all failed horribly. As a result, it's no wonder that China's phoney Panchen Lama has emerged as the personification of the Chinese Communist Party's failure in Tibet," he said.

Since 2006, Geshe Lhakdor, a renowned Tibetan Buddhist scholar and Director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamshala, has expressed grave concern about Communist China's attempts to establish itself as the world's Buddhist leader by hosting a series of 'World Buddhist Conferences.' "They spend a lot of money on bringing Buddhist leaders and intellectuals from all over the world, but His Holiness the Dalai Lama is never invited." They have been desperately attempting to position Gianchin Norbu, their puppet Panchen Lama, as the most senior international Buddhist leader through similar summits. "However, they have absolutely failed in this endeavour," he stated.

The monk scholar warned the Chinese leaders against their acts of mistreating and killing monks and ordinary Tibetans. “If you treat ordinary people then it is a great sin. But if you even mistreat the Bodhisatvas like the Panchen Lama then the consequences will be too serious for China, Chinese leaders and the Communist Party of China. In Buddhism it is called the law of causality. In simple language it is the law of nature. No one will be able to save those individuals, who are involved in such sins,” he warned. Offering his prayers for the long life of the arrested Panchen Lama Geshe Lhakdor said, “No matter even if he is alive or not, he, like other Bodhisatvas, will keep working. And the impact will be very serious for China.”

Ms. Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren, a member of the International Tibet Network's (ITN) UK Steering Committee, mocked the Chinese government's assertion that Gedhun, a six-year-old boy, was taken away "for his own protection." "If they were truly concerned about his safety, 27 years is far too long for a powerful country like China today to keep him concealed from the world's gaze." "Their refusal to share information about the Panchen Lama reveals the Chinese government's fears," she said.

Eleanor informed the audience that her group has enlisted the assistance of some well-known artists as well as scientific methodologies for 'age progression image generation.' ITN has been using this technique for years to create the Panchen Lama's likely present picture and share it with governments, parliaments, opinion makers, and human rights advocacy groups all across the world. She expressed her hope that the Panchen Lama is still alive and well in Chinese captivity, and that ITN and other groups working to raise awareness about Tibet will continue to put pressure on the Chinese government to release him.

The conversation was chaired by Vijay Kranti, a senior Tibetologist and Chairman of CHASE. He gave some background on the matter, saying that throughout the first four decades of Tibet's occupation, Chinese officials wanted to transform ordinary Tibetans into patriotic Chinese by eliminating Tibetan culture and prohibiting religious rites. They are now attempting to conquer Tibetan Buddhism from inside, after understanding that even three generations after the Dalai Lama fled Tibet, the Tibetan people's faith in him and Buddhism remains a uniting and driving force against Chinese control. Beijing's frustration can be seen in the imposition of a Panchen Lama chosen by the CCP.

(Information Supplied by

By Team TRC