Chadrel Rinpoche’s Aide Held Beyond Prison Term
|Gedun Chokyi Nyima (left) Chadrel Rinpoche (Right)|
Dharamsala, 28 August 2003: A reliable source, on condition of anonymity, told the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy that Champa Chung, 56-year-old former assistant of Chadrel Rinpoche, is in custody even after the expiry of his original four-year’s prison term in 1999. Arrested in 1995 over his role in the controversial reincarnation issue of the Panchen Lama, Champa Chung received four years’ prison term in addition to two years’ deprivation of political rights.
A press release issued by the centre indicated that the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy has confirmed information on Champa Chung’s detention.
The release further said that Champa was kept in the same ‘gora’ or courtyard of the prison.
“China’s Revised Criminal Procedure Law of March 1996 stipulates that the period in custody from the date of arrest is counted in the term of prison sentence. In accordance with the Chinese law, Champa Chung’s four-year prison term was to expire by 16 May 1999 since his arrest took place on 17 May 1995. The extended detention of Champa Chung, therefore, is in contravention of China’s national law and international laws as well”, the press release said.
Champa Chung is a former Secretary of the Search Committee for the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama and Deputy Director of the Administration of Dechen Kelsang, Panchen Lama’s residence in Shigatse, Tibet’s second largest town. Champa Chung was arrested along with Chadrel Rinpoche (64), former abbot of Tashilhunpo Monastery and head of Search Committee for the 10th Panchen Lama’s reincarnation, and Samdrup, a businessman from Panam county in Shigatse.
On 14 May 1995, His Holiness the Dalai Lama announced Gedhun Chokyi Nyima, then six years old, as the eleventh Panchen Lama of Tibet. Beijing imposed another boy named Gyaltsen Norbu as the eleventh Panchen Lama on the Tibetan people in November 1995. Gedhun Chokyi Nyima along with his family disappeared and their whereabouts still remain unknown.
Despite assurances about his “well-being”, no government body, independent agency or individual has ever been allowed to meet the young boy who turned 14 this April. TCHRD sought the attention and support of the international community in pressurising China to release Gedun Chokyi Nyima, Chadrel Rinpoche and Champa Chung unconditionally.