This year on 17th May, we mark the 28th year of the enforced disappearance of then six-year-old 11th Panchen Lama, Jetsun Tenzin Gedhun Yeshi Trinley Phuntsok Pal Sangpo, popularly known as Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. Following the recognition of then six-years-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th Panchen Lama by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the Chinese government abducted the Panchen Lama along his family and Chadrel Rinpoche, who was responsible for leading the search committee for the reincarnation, just three days later. None of them have been seen since then. As one of the world’s longest-standing enforced disappearance cases, the Panchen Lama’s 28-year-long abduction serves as a grim reminder of the brutal oppression of the Chinese colonial regime against the Tibetans.
China’s interference in the selection process of the Panchen Lama shows their disregard for the fundamental human rights and religious beliefs of Tibetans, which are deeply rooted in Tibetan culture. Though China signed many UN rights treaties, China continues to show a blatant disregard for fundamental human rights and religious beliefs in Tibet through its repressive policies towards Tibetans. The international community has condemned China’s noncommittal actions in violating fundamental human rights and justice. Numerous international governments and organisations have issued resolutions and statements for the Chinese government to provide reliable information about the Panchen Lama.
Our demands for the Chinese government are twofold.
We urge them to reveal credible information about the whereabouts and well-being of the 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, and his parents.
We call upon the Chinese government to respect the basic human rights of Tibetans, including an immediate halt to the forced disappearance of prominent religious figures, leaders, and advocates in the community.
We will continue to hold them accountable for their severe violations against Tibetan people, and demand that they adhere to international conventions.
-Filed by Tibet Advocacy Section, DIIR