Who is the Panchen Lama?
Birthday: April 25, 1989
Age: 16Born: Lhari, Tibet
Current whereabouts: Unknown
The Panchen Lama was 6 years old when he and his parents were kidnapped from their home in Tibet by the Chinese government. Now a teenage boy, he was the world's youngest political prisoner when he was first abducted and has been missing for 10 years.
Panchen Lama is a religious title like Vice-President or Prime Minister that Tibetans give to the second greatest leader of Tibet. Panchen means "Great Scholar" and Lama is a word Tibetans use for a religious teacher. We believe that the Panchen Lama is the protector of all the world's living beings.
This all means that the boy in this picture should grow up to be a very powerful leader of Tibet and perhaps the world.
Why did the Chinese Government Kidnap the Panchen Lama and his Parents?
Tibet used to be its own country but China invaded it in 1949. After the Chinese took over, Tibetans in Tibet were no longer free or happy. China kidnapped the Panchen Lama, his parents and brother from their home in Tibet and are holding them under house arrest somewhere in China. We are still not sure where they are and hopefully through this web page we can spread the word about this boy and help him and his family.
How Did this Boy Become the 11th Panchen Lama?
Tibetans believe that great religious leaders like the Panchen Lama are reincarnated. When the 10th Panchen Lama died in 1989, other lamas and monks who were friends with him began to look for his reincarnation.
Finally after six years, they had a list of boys who they thought might be the next Panchen Lama. They asked the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, which boy was the right one. After looking at all the information about the boys, he chose Gedhun Choekyi Nyima.
Why did the Chinese government kidnap the Panchen Lama and his parents?
It all started when the Chinese soldiers marched into Tibet...
Tibet used to be its own country but it was invaded by China in 1949. Tibetans weren't happy about this because the Chinese government made rules that made life very hard for the Tibetans. On March 10th, 1959, things got so bad that the Tibetans told the Chinese government to get out of Tibet and to let Tibetans make their own laws.
China had so many soldiers and so many guns that they didn't care how the Tibetans felt or what they said. They were very angry because the Tibetans said they wanted their country back so they started to put Tibetans in jail where many of them were beaten and killed.
The Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibet, escaped to India before the Chinese soldiers could find him and hurt him. But the Chinese soldiers found the 10th Panchen Lama and wouldn't let him go.
After 1959, life was very sad for Tibetans in Tibet. Many people died because they were tortured in prison and put in labour camps.
Today, Tibetans in Tibet are still forced to live by the rules of the Chinese government. China does not like anyone who says their laws should be changed. This is why so many Tibetans ran away as refugees from Tibet to live in other places like Canada, the United States and India.
What does China say about kidnapping the Panchen Lama and his family?
When we asked China where the real Panchen Lama and his family had disappeared to in May 1995, they told us that they didn't know. We asked them again and again. They said they still didn't know. Then one year later they admitted that they knew where he was all along.
People tell lies because they are trying to hide something. Usually it is something they are ashamed of, or something they know is not right.
This is why China's government said that Gedhun Choekyi Nyima's parents asked them to hide him because they were afraid that Tibetans would kill him. This is just one example of a government that tells lies to their people. These types of lies are called propaganda. China also says that the boy that the Dalai Lama chose as the Panchen Lama is not the true one. After they kidnapped the real one they picked a different boy themselves even though the government of China does not believe in religion. His name is Gyaltsen Norbu.
Tibetans know that the boy chosen by the Dalai Lama is the true Panchen Lama. We asked a lot of important people from different governments of the world to help us find him but so far nothing they have done has helped.
Text courtesy of the Canada Tibet Committee: http://www.tibet.ca/
Information & Pictures courtesy of the http://www.freepanchenlama.org/