This spring, the Chinese government hosted a so-called World Buddhist Forum in Beijing, where they trotted out their version of the Tibetan spiritual leader, a 16-year-old boy named Gyaltsen Norbu. Meanwhile the real Panchen Lama, recognized by the exiled Dalai Lama in 1995, remains in the custody of the Chinese government.
The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959, as the People’s Republic of China overran the capital of Lhasa, destroyed Buddhist monasteries, and arrested spiritual leaders.
The Chinese regime installed new leaders to replace those loyal to the Dalai Lama. In his first public appearance, their boy Norbu wasted no time in urging the Tibetan people to “defend the nation” – that is, China – and contribute to “the solidarity of the people.”
He left out the part about compassion for all sentient beings.
After the death of the previous Panchen Lama in 1989, a secret search committee discovered the 11th incarnation, a young boy, Gedhun Nyima, in Lhari Tibet. However, when the Dalai Lama announced his selection in 1995, the Chinese government arrested the little six-year-old, who became the world’s youngest political prisoner.
No one other than Chinese authorities has seen the boy or his parents since, and last December, Reuters news agency reported that they remained in Chinese custody.
The Dalai Lama has called for world leaders to speak firmly to Chinese leaders to help restore independence to the Tibetan people. In the meantime, Tibetan Buddhism struggles under the iron fist of the Chinese Government.
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