Dharamshala: Chinese authorities have detained four Tibetans for praying for the release of the Panchen Lama in Serchul County, Karze (Chinese: Ganzi) Prefecture in the traditional Kham province of Tibet.
On Monday, 29 April, one of the detainee, a 20-year-old Tibetan named Wangchen prayed and called for the release of the 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and for his reunification with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Tibet. They were on a week-long clean-up drive on a mountain close to a Sershul monastery when Wangchen reportedly recited prayers and shouted slogans during an offering of prayer flags on the mountain.
On their way back at around 10:30 AM local time, the local police arrested and detained Wangchen and his friends Lobsang, Yonten, and a fourth man, a physically challenged person. The fourth unidentified person was later released but Wangchen, Lobsang and Yonten are still being held at the county police station.
According to news reports, the local police confiscated their cell phones. Police also prevented the family members of Wangchen, Lobsang and Yonten from visiting them, while informing that the three will be sentenced in about 15 days.
Just four days before their detention, Tibetans worldwide marked the 30th birthday of the 11th Panchen Lama on 25 April. On 17 May 1995, the Chinese government abducted Panchen Gedhun Choekyi Nyima—six years old at the time—after His Holiness the Dalai Lama publicly announced him as the 11th Panchen Lama. He has not been seen since.
-Filed by UN, EU and Human Rights Desk