Beijing: China on Tuesday said a Tibetan boy, who disappeared 27 years ago after being incarnated as Panchen Lama by the Dalai Lama is leading a normal life as a Chinese citizen and dismissed the US’ concerns about his whereabouts as political manipulation to smear the country.
We firmly oppose the US using religious freedom as a cover and interfering in China’s domestic affairs by taking advantage of the issues related to Tibet,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, responding to a US statement calling on Beijing to disclose the whereabouts of the Tibetan boy, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, who went missing in 1995.
Nyima was recognised as the 11th Panchen Lama, the second highest spiritual authority in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama in 1995. Days later Nyima disappeared and his whereabouts are not known.
China, which claims that Tibet is part of its territory, rejected the nomination and appointed a six-year-old boy Bainqen Erdini who continued to remain Panchen Lama as Beijing looks to counter the Dalai Lama’s spiritual influence in Tibet by projecting him as the officially recognised top monk.
Very little information has been given about Nyima or his family since he went missing at the age of six shortly after being named the 11th Panchen Lama.
A US State Department in a statement on Tuesday on the 33rd birthday of Nyima said “the 11th Panchen Lama remains missing since Peoples Republic of China (PRC) authorities abducted him as a six-year-old child on May 17, 1995.”
The PRC continues to deny members of the Tibetan community access to the Dalai Lama-designated Panchen Lama, the second most revered figure in Tibetan Buddhism, and instead continues to promote a state-selected proxy,” it said.
We urge PRC authorities to account for Gedhun Choekyi Nyima’s whereabouts and well-being immediately and to allow him to fully exercise his human rights and fundamental freedoms, in line with the PRC’s international commitments,” it said.
It further said the United States supports Tibetans’ religious freedom and their unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity, including Tibetans’ right to select, educate, and venerate their own leaders, like the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, according to their own beliefs and without government interference.
Asked for his reaction, Wang during a media briefing said that the so-called spiritual boy is a normal Chinese citizen living a normal life .
He and his family don’t wish to be disturbed. The US should understand and respect their will instead of using it for political manipulation and smear China,” he said, without disclosing the whereabouts of Nyima.
Wang said the Chinese government upholds religious freedom policy that includes respecting and protecting the reincarnation of living Buddhas of Tibetan Buddhism.
Their reincarnation through hundreds of years has formed a complete set of procedures and we need to abide by historical conventions, religious rituals and Chinese laws,” he said.
The 14th Dalai Lama is an anti-China separatist in the disguise of religion. Twenty-seven years ago to advance his anti-China separatist political agenda, he defied religious ritual and defied historical mission and announced a spiritual boy as Panchen Lama that was illegal and null and void,” he said .
“If the US truly cares about human rights and religious freedom then why did it engage in all round systemic racial cleansing of native Americans leading to their genocide,” he said, adding that Washington should give a good explanation .
The 14th Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 following a Chinese crackdown on an uprising by the local population in Tibet. India granted him political asylum and the Tibetan government-in-exile has been based in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh since then.
China views the Dalai Lama as a “separatist” working to split Tibet from China.