Dharamshala, India — The India based Tibetan 'Women's Association (TWA) has staged a peaceful protest on the 23rd year of the 11th Panshen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima abduction by the Chinese communist regime in Beijing (1995). The protesters shouted slogans such as "Where is Tibet's 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima? CHINA ALONE CAN ANSWER!!!."

"17th May 2018 marks the 23rd year of abduction of Tibet's 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhu Choekyi Nyima by the Chinese authorities. The six years old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was recognized as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama, Lobsang Trinley Lhundrui Choekyi Gyaltsen, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on 14th May 1995. Within three day: after the recognition, the young Panchen Lama along with his family was kidnapped by the Chinese authorities," the TWA said in a statement to mark the event.

"Since then. the Chinese Government has refused repeated requests for independent access to establish his health and well-being, claiming he was leading a normal life and did not wish to be disturbed. China justified his disappearance on the grounds that it was for his own protection against "Splittist" forces," the statement said.

"Meanwhile, China selected another boy of similar age, Gyaltsen L Norbu son of Tibetan Communist Party functionaries, as the 11th Panchen Lama and he were enthroned on December of 1995," it said, adding: "This is a sinister attempt by the People's Republic of China (PRC) to eliminate the influence of the Dalai Lama in Tibet and to gain political mileage out of the spiritual traditions and practices in the Tibetan Buddhism."

The group stressed that "The 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima - turned 29 years old on 25th April 2018, and it has been 23 years since he was abducted by the Chinese authorities. Despite repeated requests and demands by the Tibetan people as well as by various concerned individuals, organizations, parliamentarians and governments of the world for the release of the young Panchen Lama, the Chinese Government have not revealed any information on the well-being and whereabouts of the 11th Panchen Lama."

"Not even a photograph of the 11th Panchen Lama has been available for the millions of people who wish to know how the 11th Panchen Lama looked like as a young reincarnation that is 29 years old now. He is grown up young man and the Chinese Government has no right to keep him in detention," the TWA added, saying "He should be allowed to return to Tashi Lhunpo monastery — seat of the Panchen Lama and receive religious education and training deserving of his religious status. At this age, he is also supposed to be performing his supreme responsibility."

"While the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet is still untraceable, the Chinese Government has intensified its efforts to endorse Gyaltsen Norbu as the real Panchen Lama. This indicates the high, political priority accorded to ensuring acceptance of the boy as the valid incarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama. However, the Tibetans do not accept Gyaltsen Norbu as the legitimate Panchen Lama and in fact called him the "Fake Panchen Lama"", the group continued.

The exile Tibetan Women's group said that they are "very concerned about the fate and well being of the 11th Panchen Lama, as we have no evidence to show that the 11th Panchen Lama is alive and free of torture by the Chinese authorities."

The group demands the following actions by the Chinese Government:-

> Prove to the world that the 11th Panchen Lama is alive and in good health, by revealing the location of his whereabouts. > Provide photos of the 1 Panchen Lama as a grown up man who is 29 years old now. > Allow independent bodies under the auspice of the United Nations to meet Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family. > Release Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family immediately and unconditionally. > Provide information on whereabouts and well being of Chadrel Rinpoche, the former abbot of Tashi Lhunpo monastery and who headed the Search Party Committee for the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama.

The TWA said they would like to reiterate that we will not give up effort in the search and release of Tibet's 11th Panchen Lama. "We call upon the United Nation's Human Rights Commission, leaders of the world and Tibet supporters to put pressure on the Communist,Chinese Government to release Tibet's Panchen Lama without further delay and conditions."

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