CTA celebrates the 35th birthday of the 11th Panchen Lama in Dharamshala

The chief guest, special guest and CTA leaders cutting the cake to celebrate the 11th Panchen Lama's 35th birthday in Dharamshala on April 25, 2024. Photo: TPI/Yanchen Dolma

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Dharamshala — Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) organised a ceremony to celebrate the 35th birthday of the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet, and Chinese Communist Party government forcibly abducted six-year-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, his parents and his teacher Chadrel Rinpoche in 1995, and they have been missing ever since.

Official ceremony organised to celebrate the 35th birthday of the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet, by the Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration, in the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple (Tsuglakhang) in Dharamshala, HP, India, on April 25, 2024.

The ceremony attended by chief guest Honourable Juku-Kalle Raid, the Member of Estonian Parliament and the Chair of Estonian Parliamentary Support Group for Tibet, Henn Põlluaas, Member of Estonian Parliament and Former Speaker; Tarmo Tamm, Member of the Estonian Parliament; Roy Strider, Estonian Tibet Support Coordinator and special guests Tsechokling Rinpoche, the former secretary of the Ecclesiastical Affairs Department, Govt of Sikkim; Regzin Dorjay, Acting President of the Ladakh Buddhist Association, Abbot of the Tashi Lhunpo monastery, Ven Zeekgyab Rinpoche, as well as leadership of the Central Tibetan Administration; and prominent journalists from esteemed Indian media houses, Tibetans including students, Monks and Nuns.

Sikyong Penpa Tsering of Kashag (Cabinet) read out the statement of Kashag and said, "Today, we are gathered here to mark the special occasion of the thirty-fifth birthday of His Eminence the eleventh Panchen Rinpoche, Tenzin Gendun Yeshi Thinley Phuntsok. On this special occasion, we fervently pray that His Eminence may soon be able to break the shackles of the Chinese government’s illegal captivity to freedom and assume his rightful throne of the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery."

"We appeal to all free democratic governments to take effective measures to secure the immediate release of Panchen Rinpoche. We call on the human rights organisations and supporters of the Tibetan cause to take all possible steps to appeal to their governments," Sikyong of CTA said.

"Taking this opportunity, the Kashag would like to urge Gyaltsen Norbu, who was appointed by the Chinese government, being a Tibetan and someone who had the opportunity to study Tibetan Buddhism, should not become a political tool of the Chinese government’s sinister motives. Instead, he must recognise the unprecedented danger threatening the survival of the Tibetan people and Tibetan Buddhism, and fearlessly undertaken his responsibility and not commit any act that would hurt the Tibetans and Tibet’s spiritual and political cause," the statement of Kashag stated.

Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel read out the statement of Tibetan Parliament in Exile on the occasion and said, "We also reiterate our call to the Chinese Communist Party government that it must be fully transparent in clearing all doubts regarding the true situation of the Kunzig Panchen Rinpoche and the members of his family."

"We remain fervent in our prayers and supplication that the 11th Kunzig Panchen Rinpoche Jetsun Tenzin Gedhun Yeshi Trinley Phuntsok Pal Sangpo remains in sound health conditions; that he may swiftly be released from the captivity of the Communist Party of Chinese government; that the entire communities of the Tibetan people and Buddhist peoples may definitely realize the glorious visual blessings of his golden countenance; and that he may thereby be able to resume the role that he has inherited from his predecessors," the Speaker added.

The guests then expressed their support for the Tibetan cause and called on China to release the 11th Panchen Lama from Tibet immediately. Tibetan singer Tsering Gyurmey and TIPA artists performed newly produced songs in honour of 11the Panchen Rinpoche. A new book by Tibetan scholar Thinley Wangchuk and five publications by the Tashi Lhunpo monastery in exile were also presented and the ceremony concluded.