Boy chosen as Panchen Lama by Dalai Lama leads ‘normal life’ as Chinese citizen, Beijing says


11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima

Photo: ANI

Beijing: China said a Tibetan boy on Tuesday, who disappeared 27 years ago after incarnating into Panchen Lama speak Dalai Lama lives a “normal life” as a Chinese citizen and dismissed US concerns about his whereabouts as “political manipulation” to smear the country.

“We strongly oppose the United States using religious freedom as a cover and interfering in China’s internal affairs by taking advantage of issues related to TibetChinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in response to a US statement calling on Beijing to reveal the whereabouts of the Tibetan boy, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, who disappeared in 1995.

Nyima was recognized as the 11th Panchen Lama, the second highest spiritual authority in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama in 1995. A few days later, Nyima disappeared and his whereabouts are unknown.

China, which claims Tibet is part of its territory, rejected the application and nominated a six-year-old boy Bainqen Erdini who has continued to remain Panchen Lama as Beijing seeks to counter the spiritual influence of the Dalai Lama in Tibet by projecting him as the best officially recognized monk.

Very little information has been given about Nyima or his family since he disappeared at the age of six shortly after being named the 11th Panchen Lama.

A US State Department said in a statement on Nyima’s 33rd birthday on Tuesday that “the 11th Panchen Lama remains missing since authorities in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) abducted him on 17 May 1995 when he was six years old”.

“The PRC continues to deny members of the Tibetan community access to the Dalai Lama-appointed Panchen Lama, the second most revered figure in Tibetan Buddhism, and instead continues to promote a state-appointed proxy,” did he declare.

“We urge the PRC authorities to immediately report on Gedhun Choekyi Nyima’s whereabouts and well-being and to allow him to fully exercise his human rights and fundamental freedoms, in accordance with the international commitments of the PRC,” he said.

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He further stated that the United States supports the religious freedom of Tibetans and their unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity, including the right of Tibetans to select, educate and revere their own leaders, such as the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, according to their own beliefs. and without government interference.

Asked about his reaction, Wang told a press briefing that “the so-called spiritual boy is a normal Chinese citizen leading a normal life.”

“He and his family do not wish to be disturbed. The United States should understand and respect their will instead of using it for political manipulation and smearing China,” he said, without revealing Nyima’s whereabouts.

Wang said the Chinese government supports the religious freedom policy which includes respecting and protecting the reincarnation of living Buddhas of Tibetan Buddhism.

“Their reincarnation through hundreds of years has formed a complete set of procedures, and we must abide by historical conventions, religious rituals and Chinese laws,” he said.

“The 14th Dalai Lama is an anti-China separatist disguised as religion. Twenty-seven years ago, to advance his anti-China separatist political agenda, he challenged religious ritual and challenged historical mission and announced a spiritual boy like Panchen Lama who was illegal and null and void,” he said.

“If the United States really cares about human rights and religious freedom, why did it engage in a comprehensive systemic racial cleansing of Native Americans leading to their genocide,” he said, adding that Washington should give a “good explanation”.

The 14th Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 following a Chinese crackdown on an uprising by local people in Tibet. India granted him political asylum and the Tibetan government in exile has been based in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh ever since. China regards the Dalai Lama as a “separatist” working to separate Tibet from China.

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