TWA demands the Chinese government to declare the 11th Panchen Lama’s status by 25th April, 2015

 

TWA observes the 25th birthday of XIth Panchen Lama

 

 

April 25, 2014: Tibetans and Tibet supporters are today marking the 25th birthday of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet. But, there will be no party or celebration; Gedhun Choekyi Nyima will once again be spending his birthday in an unknown location having been abducted by the Chinese authorities in 1995, following his recognition as one of Tibet’s most important religious figures. Nineteen years ago on May 17, 1995, 6 year old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was imprisoned for no crime and for purely political reasons.

 

The Tibetan Women’s Association and its global network of 56 regional chapters call on the Chinese leadership and the Chairman of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), to disclose the whereabouts of the 25-year old Panchen Lama of Tibet. Panchen Lama’s parents are currently placed under house arrest in their home town- they are not allowed to make any outside contact and police officials reportedly escort and monitor all their movements.

 

Tibetans, Tibet supporters, Human Rights Organizations and World Governments have consistently urged China to release Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, but these appeals continue to go unheeded. For nearly two decades the Chinese authorities have denied requests from governments and the United Nations for access to Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family.

 

In September 2013, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Child (CRC) in its concluding observation on China mentioned its concern over the disappearance of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. CRC mentioned that, “the situation of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, who disappeared at the age of six years in 1995, and despite the State party’s information, mainland China has not allowed any independent expert to visit and confirm his whereabouts, fulfillment of his rights and well-being. Immediately allow an independent expert to visit Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and verify his health and living conditions.”

 

In 2010 Padma Choling, the former Chairman of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), made a statement saying that “Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is living a normal life,” but there is no evidence of his current state. We demand that he provide evidence to this.

 

To mark his 25th birthday and in remembrance of Xth Panchen Lama, Choekyi Gyaltsen, TWA is organizing a panel discussion on the topic- “The indomitable Spirit of the Xth Panchen Lama and significance of the 70,000 Character Petition” in Mcleod Ganj. This will discuss the significance of the “70,000 character petition” (described by Mao Zedong as), which essentially is a significant document ‘systematically critiquing and making recommendations about the work in Tibet and other Tibetan areas.’ It is also one of the most important documents in modern Tibetan history. It was denounced by China’s former leader Mao Zedong in 1962 as “a poisoned arrow shot at the Party” and called Panchen Lama as “a reactionary feudal overlord”.

 

According to the Tibetan astrological predictions, the 25th birth year is the year of astrological hindrances to an individual’s life. Therefore TWA and its regional chapters will be organizing massive prayers and elaborate rituals including ‘Kagyur’ reading to ensure the immediate release of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima from the clutches of Chinese government.

 

At the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) meetings and the recent Universal Periodic Review in October 2013, China confidently claimed that all its ethnic minorities have human rights- political, economic, cultural, social, educational, religious. But the case of continued abduction of Tibet’s spiritual leader Panchen Lama reflects China’s gross violation of religious and political rights of the Tibetan people in Tibet. It also shows that even after 55 years illegal occupation of Tibet, the Chinese government has failed to assert its political or religious legitimacy and authority over Tibetan people and in Tibet. Last year in November, China was re-elected in the UNHRC thus making them obligated to improve the human rights situation in both China and Tibet.

 

TWA calls on the Chinese Government to implement all its national and international commitments on human rights and to ensure the immediate release of the XIth Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as a step towards such staying true to its affirmations.

 

 

Tibetan Women’s Association

Central Executive Committee, Dharamsala

 

 

TWA observes the 65th annual United Nations’ Human Rights Day

Dec-10,-2013-banner_facebook2013 marks the 65th annual United Nations’ Human Rights Day and 64th year of Chinese occupation of Tibet, since 1949. Even after more than six decades of China’s violation of human rights in Tibet, this year, China has made it to the 47-seat United Nations Human Rights Council. Either the governments have elected China in the council with hope to see positive changes or to maintain their trade relationship with China as it is the world’s rising power. Which ever the case, we sincerely hope China is serious about improving human rights conditions in Tibet and the United Nations and UN Human Rights Council will maintain its commitments on human rights.

 

In marking this year’s annual United Nations’ Human Rights Day, Central Tibetan Women’s Association earnestly requests Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Amnesty International, International Court of Justice, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Committee Against Torture and UN Women to support for the release of Tulku Tenzin Delek in order to get medical treatment as his physical condition is very critical and we also request to focus on health condition of all political prisoners who are suffering with serious illness in China’s prison and detention centers.

 

In the morning, at the f2ormal function of the Central Tibetan Administration, TWA launched the new researched book ‘The Status of Tibetan Women in Tibet’ and at the main gate of the Tsuklagkhang (Dalai Lama’s temple), three non-governmental organizations (Students for a Free Tibet, Gu-Chu-Sum and Central Tibetan Women’s organization) organized a mass campaign to support the release and well return of Dhondup Wangchen by signing on a thousand of paper cranes made by the three NGOs. The signed paper cranes will 3be posting to the embassy of the People’s Republic of China in New Delhi.

 

In the evening, at 2pm, TWA organized a talk on human rights ’64 years of violation of human rights in Tibet under Chinese occupation, since 1949′ for the foreigners. The guest speakers for the talk were Tenzin Nyingji, a researcher at the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) and John Gaudette, a legal intern at TCHRD. Nyingji focused on ‘Human Rights situation in Tibet’ and John focused on ‘Crime against Humanity in Tibet’.

Central Tibetan Women’s Association

                                                Dharamsala

TWA appeals UNESCO to save Lhasa

TWA 1To

Kishore Rao,

Director

UNESCO World Heritage Centre

 

Date: June 15, 2013

Subject:  Appealing to take immediate action to stop the destruction and frightening  modernization of Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet.

 

Your Excellency,

 

We the Tibetan Women’s Association, an organization that encompasses 16,000 members in 56 regional chapters across four continents (Asia, America, Europe, and Australia) urge the United Nations World Heritage Centre to take immediate action to stop the Chinese government’s destruction and frightening modernization of Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet.

 

China’s ongoing project of constructing Bakhor Shopping Mall is destroying Lhasa. The project covers 150,000 square meters and includes an underground parking space for 1,117 garages. This project also has environmental ramifications since it is destroying the root of the city as it pumps out groundwater throughout the day and night.

 

In 2000 and 2001, UNESCO, in recognition of Lhasa’s value for its religion, history and the humanities, listed the Jokhang and the Norbulingka as extensions of the Potala on its World Heritage list. However, by continuing its modernization projects in Lhasa, the Chinese government is not only destroying Tibet, but also threatening World Heritage.TWA 2

 

In Woeser’s letter, “Our Lhasa is on the Verge of Destruction! Please, Save Lhasa,” she describes the Chinese government’s plans to divide Lhasa into several parts:  the historic circumambulation path around the Jokhang is to be thoroughly cleared, all the street peddlers are to be moved inside what will be the Barkhor Shopping Mall, and all the residents originally living along the streets are to be moved to Tolung Dechen County in the western suburb of Lhasa. Chinese authorities announced that it would grant subsidy of between 20,000 to 30,000 RMB for households that quickly move into the Tolung Dechen County, and reprimand those who refuse to comply.

 

Lhasa is not merely a capital city; it is the spiritual, cultural, and political center of Tibet. Like Mecca is holy for Islams, so is Lhasa for Tibetans. Throughout the year, countless Tibetans make pilgrimage to the holy city of Lhasa. The city’s unique beauty is reflected in the images of pilgrims circumambulating the Jokhang Temple and prostrating in front of it. However, the frightening and rapid pace of modernization of this ancient city is directly endangering Tibetan religion, culture and identity.

 

In 1994, UNESCO honored the Potala Palace by including this landmark structure on its World Heritage List. However, since then, there have been questionable developments in Lhasa that threatened the preservation of this capital city. One incident was in 1996, when the Chinese authorities destroyed the village of Shol, an area that had previously stood at the foot of the Potala Palace for 1100 years. Then in 2007, UNESCO itself pointed out the overtourism at the Potala Palace by giving a “Yellow Card Warning” to the Chinese government and threatening the removal of the Potala Palace from the World Heritage List. Now we urge you to take action to prevent another mishap like that which took place in Shol. As we currently witness the destruction of area around Jokhang, we now need your help more than ever.

 

The ancient city Lhasa, especially surrounding Jokhang Temple is a unique and irreplaceable property of Tibetan people and the construction of 150,000 square meters shopping mall around Jokhang temple will lead to the deterioration or disappearance of the unique heritage of Tibet.

 

Therefore, on behalf of all the Tibetans, we the Tibetan Women’s Association appeal your excellence Mr Kishore Rao, to intervene in the construction of Bakhor Shopping Mall to save Lhasa from the Chinese government’s destructive and frightening modernization plans. We urge the World Heritage Center to remain committed in its mission of preserving and safeguarding the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

 

Thanking you

 

Yours sincerely

Tashi Dolma

 

President

Central Tibetan Women’s Association, Dharamsala.

 

 

18 years of enforced disappearance of 11th Panchen Lama

gcnmissImmediate Press Release:

18 years of enforced disappearance of 11th Panchen Lama

 

The People’s Republic of China must release Gendun Choekyi Nyima. He is the 11th Panchen Lama, the reincarnation of 10th Panchen Lama, Gendun Choekyi Gyaltsen and the real Panchen Lama of Tibetan people.

 

Gendun Choekyi Nyima is son of Konchok Phuntsog and Dechen Chodon; he was born on April 25, 1989 in the district of Lhari Nagchu, Tibet. On May 14, 1995, he was recognized as the 11th Panchen Lama by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and was named “Tenzin Yeshi Gendun Thrinley Phuntsok Pal Sangpo”.  On May 17, 1995, a few days after the recognition, the six-year-old boy disappeared along with his family and caretakers, at the time he was the youngest political prisoner in the world. The abduction of the six-year-old Gendun Choekyi Nyima is desperate act of china; it has galvanized an international movement for his release and for Tibetan freedom.  Moreover, the disappearance of such a high reincarnate lama like the Panchen Lama reflects the wider trend of imprisonment and disappearance of “dissident” Tibetans.

 

The current whereabouts of the Panchen Lama and his parents are unknown. The Chinese government claims to be protecting them; they say the boy and his family are safe and in perfect health and that they do not wish to be disturbed.  However, mere words cannot make Tibetans to believe and content.  According to Chinese law, those who are eighteen years old and above are considered adults, capable of making their own decisions and responsible for their own lives. Now the Panchen Lama Gendun Choekyi Nyima is twenty-four years old, an adult completely in the position to make his own decisions. The Chinese government, in true spirit of the law it has drafted, should allow him to exercise his right to self-determination.

 

After the disappearance of the Panchen Gendun Choekyi Nyima, in November 29 1995, China appointed another boy, Gyancain Norbu to take place of Panchen Lama and subsequently enthroned on December 8 1995. However, the boy recognized by the Chinese authorities is not welcomed by the Tibetans.

 

Even after eighteen years of disappearance of Panchen Gendun Choekyi Nyima, the faith and belief of the Tibetan people in the Panchen Lama is still as strong as ever. The years have not lessened the faith and belief in him; moreover, we still hope and look forward to seeing him again. It is high time to China to realize that religion is inseparable from Tibetan culture. For centuries, it has united the Tibetan people. Tibetan people and Tibetan culture are inseparable from Tibetan Buddhism. Disappearance of Panchen Lama is a flagrant example of the contempt displayed by the Chinese government toward the religious freedom of Tibetans, but also shows disregard of international commitments. China ratified the International Convention of the Rights of the Child, and the abduction and continued detention of the young Panchen Lama violates many of the articles of this treaty.

 

The Central and Regional Tibetan Women’s Association will never give up our search for the 11th Panchen Lama and never stop calling for his safe return to Tashi Lhunpo Monastery. We also would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all the Tibet support groups for their help. We request once again to all international committees and support groups to urge the Chinese government to accept the dialogue extended by Tibetan leaders in exile. Tibet needs your practical help to resolve its intense situation.

 

Commemorating the 24th Birthday of 11th Panchen Lama Gendun Choekyi Nyima

panchen-123

Although the birthday of the Panchen Lama is meant to be a festive occasion, the current situation is not a cause for celebration. Today, April 25, 2013, is his 24th birthday, but he is forced to celebrate once again under severe restrictions at an unknown place.

 

Gendun Choekyi Nyima was born on April 25, 1989 at Lhari Zong of Nagchu District in Tibet. He is the son of Kunchok Phuntsok and Dechen Choedon. On May 14, 1995, he was recognized as the 11th Panchen Lama by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. A few days after the recognition, the six-year-old boy disappeared along with his family and caretakers.Even after eighteen years of disappearance, the faith and belief of the Tibetan people in thePanchen Lama is still as strong as ever. During the 2012 Kalachakra, TWA interviewed a few Tibetans from Tibet regarding the Panchen Lama, and all the interviewees clearly indicated that the years have not lessened their faith and belief in him. They still hope and look forward to seeing him again.

 

The severe restrictions onTibetan culture and religion through the Chinese occupation of Tibet are part of a larger purpose of genocide. Over sixty years, China has implemented various laws and policies to accomplish this aim. Nonetheless, China has failed. The abduction of the six-year-old Gendun Choekyi Nyima is desperate act by China to control Tibetan culture – but in doing so, they have galvanized an international movement for his release and for Tibetan freedom. Moreover, the disappearance of such a high reincarnate lama like the Panchen Lama reflects the wider trend of imprisonment of “dissident” Tibetans.

 

Despite repeated urges and interventions from international agencies and human rights organizations calling China to disclose information on the Panchen Lama, the Chinese government has so far refused to share any details. In April 2012, the Chinese embassy in Delhi said that Gendun Choekyi Nyima and his family are safe and in perfect health and that they do not wish to be disturbed. According to Chinese law, those who are eighteen years old and above are considered adults, capable of making their own decisions and responsible for their own lives. Now the Panchen Lama GendunChoekyi Nyima is twenty-four years old, an adult completely in the position to make his own decisions. The Chinese government, in true spirit of the law it has drafted, should allow him to exercise his right to self-determination.

 

At the conclusion of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) meeting in March 2013, President Xi-Jingping stressed the moral reform of the nation. If China truly aspires to accomplish this dream, its first step should be to release the Panchen Lama and all political prisoners. Likewise, another moral responsibility of Xi-Jingping should be to free the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama Gendun Choekyi Gyaltsen, who was a close friend of his father Xi-Zhongxun.

 

Since the enforced disappearance of Gendun Choekyi Nyima is already an international matter, China must disclose information on him. It is also high time for China to release all political prisoners, including Tulku Tenzin Delek.

 

From this year onward, May 17, the day China abducted 11th Panchen Lama, as determined by the Kashag and the Parliament in exile, is to be commemorated as an International Solidarity Day for Tibet.

 

The Central and Regional Tibetan Women’s Association will never give up our search for the 11th Panchen Lama and never stop calling for his safe return to Tashi Lhunpo Monastery. We also would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all the Tibet support groups for their help. We request once again to all international committees and support groups to urge the Chinese government to accept the dialogue extended by Tibetan leaders in exile. Tibet needs your practical help to resolve its intense situation.

 

Office of Central Tibetan Women’s Association, April 25, 2013.