UN CRC Urge China to Grant Access to Panchen Lama
Tuesday, 21 September 2005, 2:03
Geneva: The chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Prof. Jacob Doek, yesterday morning urged the Chinese authorities to allow an independent body to verify the current status of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet.
To which, the head of the Chinese delegation in yesterday’s session of the CRC responded by saying only that he would pass on the request to the higher-ups in Beijing.
Prof. Doek raised the matter when the Chinese delegation was responding to a question posed last Sunday by Lucy Smith, CRC expert from Norway, on religious freedom in Tibet and religious education in schools.
Smith had also requested information about the current status of the Panchen Lama, who she said was only a child, being aged 16.
In response to Smith’s question, the Chinese delegate gave the usual response: Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is just an ordinary boy who is attending secondary school and scoring good grades.
The Chinese delegate also said that His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s choice of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“the so-called soul boyÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â violated historic procedures and was ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“illegal, null and voidÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â.
ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is nothing but a normal child who is receiving a good educationÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â, the Chinese delegate said.
At this point, Prof. Doek interrupted the Chinese delegate to seek more information about religious education in schools, in particular about the status of religious teachings in schools.
ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“Can religious groups establish their own schools,ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â he asked.
Raising his questions on the fate of Panchen Lama, Prof. Doek opened his remarks by identifying Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as “what is usually known as the Panchen Lama.”
Prof. Doek described the case of Panchen Lama as a ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“thorny issue because that particular boy has been taken against his and his parents’ will from Tibet to China.ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
He also highlighted the regular denial of requests for access to the Panchen Lama, saying ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“lawyers assume that there is an appearance of something being wrongÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â when they are unable to verify the facts.
Requesting a ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“candid, open and frank answer,ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Prof. Doek urged the Chinese delegation to consider the seriousness of the request that an independent body be allowed to visit Gedhun Choekyi Nyima.
ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“I still fail to understand why it is so difficultÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â for China to allow access to the boy by an independent body, Prof. Doek remarked.
Describing the case as a ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“returning issueÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â to the CRC, Prof. Doek suggested that the Chinese authorities could pick the independent body.
He also said that allowing such a body to visit the Panchen Lama ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“would clear the airÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â on the case.
The Chinese delegate responded by saying that they have not allowed foreign visitors to the Panchen Lama because, ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“too much interference creates too many problemsÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â, adding that the boy and his parents did not wished to be disturbed due to security reasons.
(www.tibet.net is the official website of the Central Tibetan Administration.)