May 17, 2017: On the occasion of the 22nd anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet, the Department of Information and International Relations is releasing an exclusive 4-minute video titled ‘Ten Facts About the Missing Panchen Lama.’ Watch the video.
DIIR secured a rare and exclusive interview with Dr. Abishek Singhvi, Indian Member of Parliament, National Spokesperson for Indian National Congress and Lawyer and Author who exposed ten things about the missing Panchen Lama of Tibet: five things about China’s continued abduction of the Panchen Lama and five things China should know.
On the eve of the 22nd anniversary of the enforced disappearance of the Panchen Lama, Ngodup Dorjee, Representative of Office of Tibet in Geneva and Dawa Tsultrim, UN advocacy officer have raised the case of Panchen Lama with the UN Expert Members including the Chair – Rapporteur of the Working Groups on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance (WGEID).
The Chair-Rapporteur acknowledged the longstanding case of the Panchen Lama and expressed her solidarity and assured in extending continued engagement with Chinese Government on the case.
On May 14, 1995, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, aged six, was recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the 11thPanchen Lama of Tibet. Three days later, on May 17, 1995 he along with his family went missing. Since then, their whereabouts remain unknown and Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is one of the world’s longest serving political prisoners.
A number of Human Rights experts and UN Working Groups have called for the well-being and whereabouts of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima to be made public.
A year later, in May 1996, the Chinese government admitted for the first time that Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family were under “protection.” China’s admission to holding the Panchen Lama appeared only after a series of concerns raised by the UN experts and the written communications addressed to PRC by the Committee on Rights of Child (CRC).
Gedhun Choekyi Nyima’s case was also included in the list of ‘10 longtime political detainees of concern’ to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Louise Arbour, the then UN Human Rights Chief raised the case during her visits to China in August 2005.
A month later, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has publicly acknowledged the case of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as one of its outstanding cases, yet to be resolved, and called upon China to receive an independent expert to visit and verify the well-being of Choekyi Nyima.
On 8 April 2011, the United Nations’ Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances has publicly stated: “Gedhun Choekyi Nyima disappeared in 1995 when he was six years old. The Chinese authorities have admitted to taking him. They have continually refused to divulge any information about him or his whereabouts, making his case an enforced disappearance.”
In 2000, during a UK-China bilateral human rights dialogue held in London, two photographs: a boy writing in Chinese on a blackboard, and another photo of a boy playing table tennis claimed to be of the Panchen Lama were shown to British delegations, but were not handed over to them.
In 2006, a senior Canadian official pressed for access to Choekyi Nyima during a visit to Tibet, but the request went unheeded.
In 2010, Padma Choling, the Governor of Tibet Autonomous Region told reporters that Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family is now living a “good life as ordinary citizens in Tibet.”
In September 2015, Norbu Dhondup, a Chinese official from the United Front Work Department of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) told reporters that Panchen Lama is living “a normal life, growing up healthily and does not wish to be disturbed.”
According to International Relations Secretary Sonam Norbu Dagpo: “The Chinese government’s over generalization and blanket statements makes the case of missing Panchen Lama shrouded in mystery and suspicion. The trumped up clarification puts the Chinese leadership both on the offensive and defensive spree.”
Information Secretary Dhardon Sharling said: “The global efforts to secure his whereabouts and release have been relentless but sadly have gone unheeded so far. Time has come for the like-minded governments to step up efforts to make Chinese government accountable for their actions and make public the real status of the Panchen Lama.”
Transcript of Dr. Abishek Singvi’s revelation on the case of the Missing Panchen Lama:
Certainly this story shows that truth can be stranger than the fiction.
A story with mystery, with pathos, with tragedy and with remarkable amount of continuing suspense.
The Panchen Lama recognized by the present Dalai Lama in 1995, has vanished, admittedly a prisoner of Chinese abductors. Clearly, this is a major invasion of the fundamental, spiritual and religious rights of the Tibetan people.
But more than that it also shows how harsh, how cruel, how dictatorial and how unrepentant and unrelenting the Chinese have been in their approach not only in the plateau of Tibet but to all the spiritual religious rights associated with that movement.
They have unfortunately used brute force, absolute unqualified, unadulterated brute force to suppress all dissent.
Not realizing that the more they suppress the concept of Panchen Lama, the more they appoint a puppet Panchen Lama of the Chinese liking, the more they create a permanent anger and a permanent repulsion in the hearts and minds of the Tibetan people.
That may be silent now. That may be unknown now. But in the ultimate analysis, it is not died. It lies very much there, simmering below the surface.
So I hope and trust that the Chinese realize it, which will only be done partially by a global pressure, a certain amount of ostracism, certain amount of shamefacedness and humiliation.
-Report filed by United Nations & Human Rights Desk-