The Panchen Lama is the second-highest lama in Tibetan Buddhism, second only to the Dalai Lama. Panchen Lama is of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. And like the Dalai Lama, the Panchen Lama has been tragically impacted by China’s subjugation of Tibet.
In 1995 His Holiness the Dalai Lama recognized a young boy, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, as the 11th Panchen Lama. Chinese authorities abducted Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family just weeks after; he was six-years old.
Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama, and his family have been missing since 1995. The last time we had any information about his whereabouts was in 2010 when Chinese-appointed Tibet Governor, Padma Choling, told reporters that Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family are now living a good life as ordinary citizens in Tibet. China seeks to legitimize its rule in Tibet by claiming it plays a crucial role in the identification of Tibet’s two most important spiritual leaders, the Dalai Lama and in this case the Panchen Lama.
After repeated attempts to gain access to the boy, no international agencies or human rights organizations (including the United Nations) have been allowed to visit Gedhun Choekyi Nyima or his family, and their condition remains uncertain. In an attempt to establish their authority over all “internal affairs” of China (political or otherwise) the Chinese leadership nominated and selected their own 11th Panchen Lama in November 1995. Their selection of six-year-old boy named Gyaltsen Norbu, is another young victim in China’s plan to undermine and control the Tibetan people, their faith, religion, and their nation.
Tibetan Youth Congress organises awareness campaigns every year on 25th April during his birthday. In 2016, Tibetan Youth Congress organised a massive Cycle Rally for Panchen Lama from Dehradun to Delhi.