The Plight of the Panchen Lama – – Tenzin Choezom

This year marked the 27th anniversary since Tibet’s 11th  Panchen Lama was forcibly abducted by the Chinese government along with his entire family. This event stands as one of the longest standing cases of enforced disappearance in the world today. On 14th  May 1995, Gedun Choekyi Nyima was recognized by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama as the 11th  Panchen Lama. Three days after that, he was abducted and since then has never been found. The Chinese government has not only kept his whereabouts a secret till date without revealing the slightest details regarding him being alive or not or about him being in a good state or not. The Chinese Communist Party even took the liberty to appoint of a Panchen Lama of their own and has forcibly made the Tibetans in Tibet to accept him or atleast put up an act of the world to show that they do. This act itself shows how the Chinese government’s sham appointment serves as confirmation that they clearly intend to interfere and manipulate in the selection of the next Dalai Lama. This has been their target ever since although it is highly visible that they never had and will have any say in matters related to Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism. Tibetans along with many governments, international organizations and human rights defenders have pressed for the release of the Panchen Lama but have failed to gain justice of any sort. There have been many cases in Tibet where the Tibetan people are forced by the Chinese authorities to attend the teachings by the fake Panchen Lama. The forced participation is merely to show the world that the Tibetans in Tibet have also accepted the Panchen Lama and are happily bestowing their love and support towards him. In reality however, it is an entirely different case where their denial to attend any such teaching could lead them into being detained or imprisoned on false charges, a tactic that the Chinese authorities have used frequently upon the innocent people of Tibet. The recent curious case of the Chinese Panchen Lama’s attempt to visit Nepal on May 16 2022 to coincide with the celebration of the Buddha Purnima at the birth place of Gautam Buddha drew the attention of not just Indian and Nepalese security agencies but some of their counterparts in the United States as well. The US government has already made it clear that the Chinese government should have no role in the succession of the Dalai Lama. There have been claims and concerted attempts by the Chinese Panchen Lama, Gyaltsen Norbu to seek legitimacy among Buddhist followers around the world. The president of Tibetan government-in-exile, Mr. Penpa Tsering told THE WEEK that the Tibetans inside Tibet as well as refugees around the world do not recognize the Chinese Panchen lama. It has come into light that Gyaltsen Norbu despite being held as the Panchen Lama has promoted the sinicization fo Tibetans. He apparently chaired a symposium recently which was held by the Tibetan branch of Buddhist Association “to study and promote the Sinicization of Tibetan Buddhism,” as per reports by the Tibet Rights Collective (TRC). Gyaltsen Norbu being brought up in Beijing since his childhood has led the People’s Republic of China into campaigning and promoting him to the best level possible. He was also appointed to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in 2010 and Vice President for the Buddhist Association of China as well. Over the years since him being appointed as the Panchen Lama since 1995, he has made several domestic and foreign trips, being the ultimate Communist party’s puppet and has made various speeches to talk about Buddhism, Tibet and China. He has at all times failed to win the acceptance and the admiration of the Tibetans. China’s abduction of the Panchen Lama and them not revealing any information whatsoever is a grave act of injustice and one that needs to be severely dealt with. His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s escape to exile due to the Chinese illegal occupation of Tibet led to him handling every issue outside Tibet whereas the interference of the Chinese government for that matter led to Gyaltsen Norbu unfairly becoming the face of Tibetan Buddhism. The fate of the true Panchen Lama is one that evokes great sadness in the heats of every Tibetan since it can be redeemed as the most saddening plight ever. China has till date carried out their plans to Sinicize Tibet to a great extent and will do so until the completion of their goal. Gyaltsen Norbu has been called a “stooge of atheist Chinese Communist Party” by the Tibetans in exile. The Tibetan people’s feelings about such enforcement has been clear from the beginning. The communist party’s lack of success in this endeavour led to them making statements about how the successor of the 14th Dalai Lama should also be reviewed and appointed with their permission. Tibet’s history makes it very clear how the Dalai Lamas and the Panchen Lamas are chosen through the predecessor’s will. China has however come up with yet another boisterous claim as to how they should be the one who would have the power to choose the next Dalai Lama. The US policy of the Tibet Policy and Support Act passed in December 2020 proved to be a ray of hope for the Tibetans since it mainly focused upon how China would have no hand or say in the search of the next Dalai Lama. The issue regarding the 11th Panchen Lama’s abduction was also stated in the content. Tibetans in exile are able to protest openly against the authoritarian rule and the illegal occupation. The fellow Tibetans back in Tibet are unable to do openly because of China’s austere surveillance and brutal handlings. Tibetans will however never support China’s horrendous oppression and will fight even harder for justice. The Panchen Lama will never be accepted and the bout for the 11th Panchen Lama will go on till the truth about his status is revealed.

News Desk

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