|APPEAL LETTER||Download Appeal Letter in Tibetan|
|Download Press Release in Tibetan|
In observation of the International Solidarity Day with Tibet on 17 May 2015, we call upon you to extend your support for the release of the 11th Panchen Lama and all political prisoners in Tibet. This year’s International Solidarity Day with Tibet coincides with the 20th anniversary of his enforced disappearance along that of his family.
On 14 May 1995, the 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, was recognised by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama. He was six years old at the time. Within three days, he was abducted by the Chinese authorities, thus making him one of the world’s youngest political prisoners. Since then, for 20 years Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family’s whereabouts remain unknown. The Chinese government replaced the Panchen Lama confirmed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama with another young boy as their 11th Panchen Lama.
On 8 April 2011, the United Nations’ Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances has publicly stated Gedhun Choekyi Nyima disappeared in 1995 when he was six years old. The Chinese authorities have “admitted taking him. They have continually refused to divulge any information about him or his whereabouts, making his case an enforced disappearance”.
A number of human rights bodies including the UN Committee against Torture, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, as well as the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, have all called for the Panchen Lama’s whereabouts to be made known. However, China has turned a deaf ear to these pleas to allow contact with the Panchen Lama and continues to detain him.
In occupied Tibet, an atheist Chinese government has aggressively been attempting to legitimize its control over the centuries-old Tibetan Buddhist reincarnation practice. In this context, and given his crucial cultural and religious role, it is critical that the 11th Panchen Lama receives a spiritual upbringing that is free from political interference.
Tibetans have suffered and continue to do so under Chinese occupation and oppression. Political repression, cultural assimilation, environmental destruction, economic marginalization and lack of religious freedom have led to waves of protests, including 138 self-immolations since 2009. They reflect the Tibetan people’s categorical rejection of the People’s Republic of China’s policies in Tibet.
Therefore, the Central Tibetan Administration calls upon Tibetans, Tibet Support Groups and all friends across the world to observe the International Solidarity Day with Tibet on 17 May through the following activities:
- Hold commemorative activities in your local community (e.g prayer service, candlelight vigil, talk about Tibet and the Panchen Lama);
- Write an appeal letter to your government and elected representatives to press China for the release of the Panchen Lama and all Tibetan political prisoners (see sample letter- General Appeal Letter & EU Appeal Letter);
- Contact your local media for coverage of your commemorative activity (see Sample Press Release).