Geneva: Religious repression and China’s continued abduction of Tibet’s 11 Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, were raised on 2 July at a side event sidelining the ongoing 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council.
The event well attended by representatives from various Permanent Missions, non-governmental organizations and Chinese delegates featured Ven. Lobsang Dorjee, Director, and Spokesperson for Central Association of Panchen Lama, and Vincent Matten, EU Policy Director for International Campaign for Tibet. Ms. Kunchok Yaklha, Special Appointee for Human Rights, Tibet Bureau, moderated the session.
In a packed room, Ven Lobsang Dorjee gave an overview of unique historical and spiritual relations between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama.
While briefing the historical role and efforts of the 10th Panchen Lama, Lobsang Choekyi Gyaltsen, in uplifting socio-economic, cultural and religious life of Tibetans following China’s illegal control of Tibet, Ven Lobsang recounted years of imprisonment, struggle sessions and public humiliation endured by the 10th Panchen Lama. He further added, “On 28 January 1989, four days after delivering a historic statement bitterly criticizing Chinese policies in Tibet stating Chinese rule in Tibet had brought more destruction than benefit to the Tibetan people, the 10th Panchen Lama died at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery”. “We have reasons to believe that he was poisoned to death”, added Ven Lobsang Dorjee.
China’s continued abduction of Panchen Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is blatant violations of all bills of rights. Despite the international outcry for his well-being and whereabouts to be made publicly known, China refused to divulged an iota of verifiable information. For 24 years now, well being and whereabouts of Panchen Gedhun Choekyi Nyima are unknown, added Ven Lobsang.
Expressing his deep concern, Ven Lobsang called the UN to press China to give unfettered access to verify the whereabouts and well-being of Panchen Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, his parents, and Jadrel Rinpoche.
Vincent Matten, EU Policy Director, International Campaign for Tibet, presented an overall state of religious repression in Tibet. He said, China has sinicized and securitized religion for a political agenda.
Illustrating China’s ever-expanding repressive policies to bring Tibetan religious affairs under its complete control, Vincent Matten, said, “In recent years, numerous international reports confirm China’s crackdown on Tibetan Buddhism has “gone to completely annihilate Tibetan Buddhism from Tibet.”
Vincent called for the international community and UN members, in particular, to “send a clear message to the Chinese government that Beijing’s imposition of their choice of next Dalai Lama will not be accepted and “religious communities –not governments-should decide their spiritual leaders.”
Ven. Lobsang Dorjee unequivocally responded to a representative from Chinese GONGO who had attempted to justify China’s interference in Tibetan religious affairs moments before the session concludes.
Report filed by Tibet Bureau, Geneva