Taipei [Taiwan], May 19 (ANI): The Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan has called on China to provide details regarding the whereabouts of the 11th Panchen Lama, who was kidnapped by the Chinese government 26 years ago.
The network founder Tashi Tsering on Monday said no information about Gedhun Choekyi Nyima or his family has been revealed since their abduction, Taiwan News reported.
"The only picture we have of him is from when he was six, just before he was kidnapped. He is the youngest political prisoner in history worldwide," he said.
Tibetan government-in-exile representative to Taiwan Kelsang Gyaltsen Bawa said Beijing should release Gedhun to reduce his suffering amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kelsang also expressed hope for the Taiwanese to weather the pandemic unharmed.
"In the past, human rights groups and Buddhists called for the unconditional release of the 11th Panchen Lama, but the Chinese government always lied. They said he was living a healthy, happy life and did not want to be disturbed," Kelsang said.
Gedhun's case is the longest-running enforced-disappearance case on record at the UN, he said, adding that the UN Human Rights Council has unsuccessfully appealed to Beijing several times for visitation rights to see Gedhun.
The US Department of State on April 22 said in a news release that "we respect 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."
For the past 26 years, followers of Tibetan Buddhism have been waiting for a glimpse of their spiritual leader, Gedhun, The 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet.
Born April 25, 1989, Gedhun was recognised as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama by the Dalai Lama, in keeping with the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, on May 14, 1995.
Within days of his public recognition, on May 17, 1995, the six-year-old Gedhun disappeared along with his parents and Jadrel Rinpoche, Head of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, who had been secretly in touch with the Dalai Lama in India regarding the search for the new incarnation of the 11th Panchen Lama.
Jadrel Rinpoche had been appointed by the Chinese authorities to be in charge of the Search Committee for the new Panchen Lama. (ANI)