Lhasa (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The real Panchen Lama, who was abducted by the Chinese authorities 20 years ago to stop the dynastic line of Tibetan Buddhism, "is living a normal life and does not want to be disturbed", according to a Chinese government official, responding to a question at a press conference. Beijing has never denied being responsible for the disappearance of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, but has attempted by every means available to avoid all mention of him in public.
Norbu Dunzhub, a member of the United Front Department of the province of Tibet, has instead wanted stated: " The reincarnated child Panchen Lama you mentioned is being educated, living a normal life, growing up healthily and does not wish to be disturbed." The young man is now 26 years, and was abducted when he was just 6 years old.
The Panchen Lama has the task - after the death of the Dalai Lama - to recognize the new rebirth. The current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, recognized young Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the Panchen Lama on May 14, 1995: a few days later, on May 17, the police kidnapped the 6 year old boy and his family, ho have since disappeared . To commemorate this event, and demand the release of small Nyima, called "the youngest political prisoner in history", there were demonstrations in his favor last May in cities across the world.
But Beijing has not limited itself to getting rid of the legitimate "number two" of Tibetan Buddhism. In November 1995, China "selected" Gyaltsen Norbu as the "true" Panchen Lama, citing the use of "more authentic" religious rituals than those used by the Dalai Lama, to establish tight control over religious practice in the region. In 2004, the regime went further and issued a regulation according to which all the "living Buddha", very important religious leaders in Tibetan Buddhism, must be approved by the government. In this way, Beijing hopes to control the next Dalai Lama.
The Communist official stressed that the reincarnations within Tibetan Buddhism must have the Party’s approval: "The identification of the Panchen Lama took place without permission, so it is illegal and invalid. No matter what the Dalai Lama says or does: you cannot deny the right of the central government to recognize the rebirth of the living Buddha".