For Immediate Release
April 25, 2011
Choki Sampho (Students for a Free Tibet, Calgary), 403.466.9170
Namgyal Choedak (Tibetan Association of Alberta), 403. 685.2242
TIBETANS AND SUPPORTERS TO HOLD VIGIL FOR MISSING PANCHEN LAMA
[CALGARY] – On Monday, April 25th, Canadian-Tibetans and supporters will hold a peaceful protest in solidarity with other supporters across the country and around the world to raise awareness of the Panchen Lama, the world’s youngest political prisoner – imprisoned by the People’s Republic of China.
“We urge the Canadian government to initiate dialogue with Chinese officials to demand the release or confirm the whereabouts of the Panchen Lama, his family and other members of his monastery Tashi Lhunpo”, said Choki Sampho, Chair of Students for a Free Tibet, University of Calgary. “The Chinese government to date has not responded to international pressure concerning the well-being of this important Buddhist monk and concerned Canadian citizens and supporters of human rights globally want action now”.
WHAT: Peaceful Protest for the Panchen Lama
WHERE: Chinese Consulate, 1011 6th Avenue SW
WHEN: Monday, April 26, 2010. 4:30-6:30pm.
Background on the Panchen Lama
In 1995, at age 6, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, Tibet’s second most important spiritual leader. Shortly thereafter, Gedhun Choeyki Nyima and his family disappeared, believed to have been abducted by the Chinese authorities.
To date, China has denied all requests from the international community to see Gedhun Choeyki Nyima and, despite occasional statements by Chinese leaders, his whereabouts remain uncertain. Tibetans and supporters worldwide call for independent verification of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima’s well-being, for confirmation that he and his family are free to travel wherever they wish, and for his return to his rightful seat in Tashi Lhunpo Monastery.
The Chinese government’s motives for preventing Gedhun Choekyi Nyima from fulfilling his destiny as the 11th Panchen Lama are purely political and a means for further controlling Tibet’s religion and culture. In place of Gedhun China’s government installed a different boy, Gyaltsen Norbu.