DHARAMSALA: The US State Department issued a statement to commemorate the 29th birthday of the Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, who has been missing since the age of six. He was abducted by the Chinese government along with his family in 1995 after he was recognized as the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama. In addition to calling for his immediate release, the State Department expressed concern for the ongoing destruction of Tibetan Buddhist communities and implored China to uphold its international commitments to promote religious freedom.
The statement issued on April 26 by Heather Nauert, Department Spokesperson read:
“On April 25, we marked the birthday of the 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, who has not appeared in public since he was reportedly abducted two decades ago by the Chinese government at age six. The United States remains concerned that Chinese authorities continue to take steps to eliminate the religious, linguistic, and cultural identity of Tibetans, including their ongoing destruction of communities of worship, such as the Larung Gar and Yachen Gar monasteries. We call on China to release Gedhun Choekyi Nyima immediately and to uphold its international commitments to promote religious freedom for all persons.”
President Dr. Lobsang Sangay of the Central Tibetan Administration welcomed the statement saying, “The Tibetan people and Buddhist faith community around the world have been celebrating the Panchen Lama’s birthday in absentia for the last 23 years. Despite the two long decades of campaigning for his freedom, we remain resolute in our commitment to working for his release.”
Click here to read the State Department’s Press Statement
-Report Filed by Office of Washington DC-