Letter From Thubten Jigme Norbu

The following article is from the Summer, 1995 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

Dear Colleagues:

On May 14, 1995, His Holiness the Dalai Lama recognized Gendun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet. This extremely important decision by His Holiness was the culmination of a difficult and thorough six-year process of searching for the incarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama. Gendun Choekyi Nyima is a 6-year-old boy from a semi-pastoral family that resides in the Lhari District in Kham, Tibet. We are very happy about His Holiness's decision and we congratulate him for discovering the 11th Panchen Lama. More-over, His Holiness's action fulfills the wishes of Tibetans and non-Tibetans throughout the world. The second most significant Tibetan Buddhist teacher is now, once again, in our presence.

While the discovery of the 11th Panchen Lama is an exciting discovery, China's response is quite disturbing. As reported by the South China Morning Post and the Hbet Information Network (TIN) on May 31,1995, the Abbot of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, Chadrei Rinpoche (Cha Tsa Chagbazeling) and his Secretary, who both led the search party for this incarnate, were taken to Chengdu on May 17 and may now be in Beijing. TIN also reported that the 6-year-old Panchen Lama and his entire family may have been taken to Beijing. These sources indicate that all of these individuals could be held captive by the Chinese Government for questioning. Thus, these persons may now be political prisoners of the Chinese Government.

We urgently request an investigation into this grave situation to determine if these individuals are political prisoners. More importantly, if this is found to be true, we strongly encourage you to pressure the Chinese Government to secure the immediate release of the Panchen Lama, his family, and all persons associated with the discovery of this significant Lama. Traditionally, the Panchen Lama is educated at his own monastery in Tibet, Tashi Lhunpo. The Panchen Lama is responsible for protecting, liberating, and enlightening the Tibetan people. Traditions such as these must be protected to insure the continuance of the Tibetan culture.

The 11th Panchen Lama must have the right to visit Tibetans in exile around the world, particularly His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Such actions will increase the possibility that all Tibetans will have the opportunity to communicate and be blessed by this highly important spiritual leader.

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The late 10th Panchen Lama, Panchen Chokyi Gyaltsen.

Your previous actions to assist Tibet and Tibetans are greatly appreciated. We strongly request that your organization act swiftly to rectify this dangerous situation. Please keep us informed of any findings on this matter.

Thank You,

Thubten Jigme Norbu, International Tibet Independence Movement, P.O. Box 2325, Bloomington, Indiana 47402. Tel. 800-276-8588, fax 812-323-2521.

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