In a recent hearing at the Canadian Parliamentarians’ Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs and International Development the Parliamentarians questioned the status of the Panchen Lama to a so-called delegation from Tibet Autonomous Region.. The case of Tashi Wangchuk and the resumption of the Sino-Tibet dialogue were raised during the meeting that lasted more than an hour.
On May 8, Tuesday, a “delegation from Tibet” comprising of four People’s Congress Deputies from the Chinese-segregated Tibet Autonomous Region, including Baima Wangdui (Pema Wangdu) appeared at the Canadian Parliament meeting. Baima Wangdui, who is also Secretary of Lhasa Municipal Committee of Communist Party of China spoke before the subcommittee.
In response to concerns raised by parliament member Garnett Genuis on the status of the 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, and international access to Tibet, Baima Wangdui who spoke on behalf of the Chinese government-appointed delegation, repeated what the government has maintained over the years and said, “[Gedhun Choekyi Nyima] has already received the modern education and he and his family members do not want to be interrupted by an external environment. I think that if there is an opportunity, you will see that he has a very good life now”.
However, the delegation failed to confirm the whereabouts of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima who was abducted at the age of six along with his family in 1995 and has remained incommunicado since.
Canadian Parliamentarian Arif Virani, who is also the chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet group, questioned the delegation on the Sino-Tibet negotiation on Middle-Way, a resolution offered by His Holiness the Dalai Lama that got stalled since 2010. Mr. Virani’s request for a Canadian delegation visit to the Panchen Lama be arranged also went unheeded as the delegation asserted that “Canadian delegation coming to Tibet to see him may interrupt his life”.
Dukthen Kyi, UN and Human Rights Officer of the Department of Information and International Relations said, “The world remembers the 11th Panchen Lama through a picture of a young boy, the only one that is available. Yet, the Chinese-appointed Tibetan delegate at the Canadian parliament meeting declares that Panchen Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, who turned 29 a few weeks ago, is leading healthy and happy life. If that is the case then why not let the world see that by allowing an independent international observers to visit?”
Next week, Tibetans and supporters around the world will mark the 23rd anniversary of the disappearance of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima.
-Report filed by UN & Human Rights Desk