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25april20093Dharamshala: TibetPost-24-April2009- 108 monks, nuns and students, all of them 20 years old, attend prayer ceremonies at the main temple in Dharamshala, the youth are doing as His Holiness the Dalai Lama suggested and praying in order to accumulate collective good merits for the benefit of the Tibetan people.  Today, the Tibetan community in exile observes the Pancen Lama's 20th birthday.

Gedun Choeky Namgayl, was identified by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet.  Upon being identified as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama the boy was taken into Chinese custody and has not been seen since 1995.

The Tibetan people's uprising movement (TPUM) based in Dharamshala said, "today, with Gendun Choekyi Nyma entering adulthood, he is no longer a child and hence is mature enough to rend, protect, and speak for himself without China's alleged protection and security."

Ven. Tsering Phuntsok, the minister of religion and culture and Penpa Tsering, the speaker of Tibetan Parliament in exile addressed the gathering. This year the Tibetan people in exile make a special plea for the release of Gendun Choekye Nyima, Tashi Lhunpo Culture Society made the following five demands to the People's Republic of China; publicize the location and health of the 11th Panchen Lama, allow the 11th Panchen Lama to be enthroned at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, immediately release all Tibetan political prisoners , immediately  stop the oppression and torture of Tibetan people inside Tibet, grant Tibet meaningful autonomy in accordance to the middle way approach proposed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

TPUM has organized events at the main temple in Dharamshala to help to raise international awareness for the situation "we call on the moral conscience of the world and the UN high commissioner for human rights in particular and the international bodies whose pressure may hold some sway with his captors, and to join of 14 year of anguish and earnest appeal for the expeditious release of Panchen Lama."  A petition campaign to raise International awareness and support also started this morning.

Tonight at the temple a documentary film "The Kingdom of a Lost Boy" will be shown.  Individuals and NGO's are concerned that the boy who was "lost" to the Chinese 14 years ago will be lost forever because of the Chinese influence in his education, and movement for meaningful autonomy will be less successful without his participation.

By: S. Hart, reporter The Tibet Post International