US rights body reiterates calls on Chinese govt for release of Buddhism's 11th Panchen Lama

·1-min read
Representative image
Representative image

Washington DC [US], May 15 (ANI): US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on Friday (local time) reiterated the call on the Chinese government to reveal the whereabouts of Tibetan Buddhism's 11th Panchen Lama, who was taken into captivity by Chinese authorities when he was six years old.

USCIRF Commissioner Nadine Maenza demanded that an independent expert be allowed to visit Panchen Lama, the second-highest spiritual authority in Tibetan Buddhism after Dalai Lama.

"The @DalaiLama recognized Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th #PanchenLama on May 14, 1995. We reiterate our calls on the Chinese govt to make known Gedhun's whereabouts & allow an independent expert to visit him to confirm his wellbeing," USCIRF tweeted Maenza as saying.

On May 15, 1995, Dalai Lama chose the then six-year-old Gedhun (born 25 April 1989, in Lhari County, Tibet) to be the 11th Panchen Lama. Three days later, Chinese authorities kidnapped him and his family. He has not been seen or heard from since.

Last month, USCIRF had reiterated its call for the Chinese government to release Gedhun Choekyi Nyima on his 32nd birthday.

"The Chinese government is so desperate to stifle Tibetan Buddhism that it kidnapped a six-year-old boy," noted USCIRF Vice Chair Nadine Maenza, who advocates for Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as part of USCIRF's Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project.

"Unfortunately, Gedhun's tragic plight represents the struggles of millions of Chinese believers to practice their faith in the face of an unprecedented crackdown." (ANI)

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