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17may200911Dharamsala: The Central Tibetan Women’s Association convened a panel discussion on the 14th anniversary of the abduction of Tibet’s 11th Panchen Lama on 17 May, 2009. The speakers present shed light on a possible course of action to bring about an effective and strategic means to secure the release of the imprisoned 11th Panchen Lama. The forum was attended by Tibetan intellectuals and nearly one-hundred spectators, including foreigners, spokespeople for local NGOs and representatives of the Tibetan, Indian and European media. At the end of the meeting, the audience posed inquiries and the speakers clarified their statements.

At six o’clock in the evening, the Tibetan Women’s Association held a candlelight vigil to commemorate the enforced disappearance and incarceration of the Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima of the Nagchu District, who on January 25, 2005 was identified by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet. His coerced incommunicado began when he and his parents were abducted by the Chinese government fourteen years ago, when he was six years old.

The President of the Ex-Political Prisoners’ Movement, Ven. Ngawang Woebar concluded the vigil with a speech. He declared that, “The Panchen Lama has been imprisoned for fourteen years and the international community is as of yet unaware of his whereabouts and physical state. In this developed society, we are still unable to access information concerning his present condition. This suggests that the Chinese government has exercised extreme measures to ensure its secrecy. His detention is a violation of basic human rights. Chinese authorities do not recognize the Panchen Lama as a sacred spiritual leader, as does His Holiness the Dalai Lama, yet continue to hold him captive. Tibetan youth must exercise knowledge of modern technology as a means to understand the significance and repercussions of the 10th Panchen Lama’s incarceration. We need to educate the Chinese masses about the Tibetan cause. Since 2008, the Chinese government has amplified its denunciation of His Holiness in the press. Young writers and intellectuals living here in exile must respond to this false propaganda; this is a responsibility that rests on the younger generations. There is a Tibetan saying, ‘If you tell a lie a thousand times, it will become true.’ We cannot simply stand by and observe while the Chinese spread lies.”