ON THE WEB, 15 May 2020
The United States on Thursday renewed calls on China to free the Tibetan identified 25 years earlier as the Panchen Lama and warned Beijing not to see the episode as a model for handling the Dalai Lama’s succession.
On 14 May 1995, the exiled Dalai Lama, a Nobel laureate with a wide global following, recognized six-year-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, the second most senior figure in Tibetan Buddhism’s largest school.
The boy was taken into custody three days later and has not been seen since, with human rights groups calling him the world’s youngest political prisoner.
“We continue to press the Chinese authorities to release the Panchen Lama, to let him free, but (also) to let the world know where he is,” said Sam Brownback, the State Department’s ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.
“This takes on, I think, an increased interest and focus and importance as the Chinese Communist Party continues to assert their right to appoint the next Dalai Lama,” he told reporters.
“They don’t have the right to appoint the next Dalai Lama any more than they (have) the right to appoint the next pope.”
China’s officially atheist government has made clear it could seek to name a successor to the 84-year-old Dalai Lama, evidently hoping that the global movement for Tibetan autonomy will wither away without the charismatic monk.
The 14th Dalai Lama, who has cut back on a hectic travel schedule but is not known to have serious health issues, has mused about breaking tradition to scuttle Beijing’s plans.
He has spoken of appointing his own successor — perhaps a girl — while he is still alive or declaring the institution finished with him.
China appointed its own Panchen Lama, who has made a number of tightly scripted public appearances, even though many Tibetans do not recognize him.
In a rare statement on the Dalai Lama-appointed Panchen Lama, a pro-Beijing official in Tibet said in 2015 that the young man was healthy, enjoying an education and “does not want to be disturbed.”
Chances of CCP releasing Panchen Rinpoche is almost zero unless CCP itself fells from power in China and we don’t know whether Rinpoche is even alive or not.
The best solution is Tibetans request His Holiness the Dalai Lama recognize one of the most promising Lamas in the free world as reincarnation of Panchen Rinpoche.
This silver bullet solution would thwart China’s devious designs so far and would be a fitting pay back to CCP and thus the new Panchen Rinpoche would unleash his full spiritual power or potential for the benefit of Tibet and the world in general and eventually recognize reincarnation of the present Dalai Lama.
Otherwise it is foolish and irresponsible on us to wait for CCP to release Panchen Rinpoche as we did for all these years.
Right now, it is not too late to make this solution a reality.
The rise of China somewhat eclipsed the Tibet Movement but there is hope that with the decoupling of US China relationship, the Tibet Movement might get a boost. The tragic China disease has exposed the trials and tribulations of the dictatorial regime like communist China. It is universally assumed that had China been a democratic nation, this catastrophy would have been prevented. The root cause of this pandemic lies in the weakness of the totalitarian system which operates in secrecy because it is not a representative Government but a usurper of power by might of the gun. With China on the rope for its coverup, it’s system along with CCP has become the target of wrath across the world. Owing to this development, the evils of communist China are dug up from the graves to highlight China’s serious abuses that have been tolerated until now. The Tibetans must wake up to this development and must work hard to highlight the regimes high-handedness in its interference in such sacred issues as the recognition of Tibet’s high lamas which are sacrosanct and no earthly body by any name and least of all communist China, who is a self-professed apostate. Tibet’s Panchen Gedun Choekyi Nyima must be given recognition by the whole world who believes in the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people. China has no right to interfere in the religious affairs of Tibetan Buddhism. The prospect of releasing Gedun Choekyi Nyima is next to nil unless the CCP regime collapses but the world Governments can give blessing to the captive Panchen and make sure communist China’s evil plan for the future reincarnation of the Dalai Lama is thwarted. This is a must and no effort should be spared to achieve this milestone. The Dalai Lama is key to the survival of the Tibet Movement and its future success.
If Panchen Lama is released say in 2023 and escapes to India, like HH Karmapa, how will Indian government and Tibetan public see him?
If we look at the Karmapa situation, it looks like he would receive a cold reception and GoI might see him as a Chinese spy. This could be predicted from the icy-cold relationship between Tibetans who escaped Tibet and those born in India.
But if he is released and stays in Tibet, then Tibetans might call him a Chinese agent or fat lama, as they did with the 10th Panchen Lama.
Either way, due to tribal rivalries and factionism within the Tibetan society, life of Panchen Lama will be marred by jealousy and conspiracies.