London [UK], May 18 (ANI): A protest was held outside the Chinese embassy in London to observe the 26th anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Tibetan Buddhism's 11th Panchen Lama.
The demonstration was organised by NGOs -- Tibetan Community UK and Free Tibet -- on Monday.
During the protest, slogans such as "Free Panchen Lama", "China out of Tibet", "Free Tibet" and "Long Live the Dalai Lama" was raised for several hours by Tibetans and British supporters.
Despite the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on gatherings and poor British weather, there were over 40 people in attendance.
For the past 26 years, followers of Tibetan Buddhism have been waiting for a glimpse of their spiritual leader, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, The 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet.
Born April 25, 1989, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima 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 Choekyi Nyima 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.
To mark the 26th anniversary, the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities (GATPM) also hosted a special webinar titled - "China: Freedom of Religious Belief".
The invited panel of experts included: Jim Shannon, a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP for Strangford, Northern Ireland, who is Shadow DUP Spokesperson for Health and Human Rights, Dr Tenzin Dorjee, Associate Professor at California State University, Fullerton (USA), who is the former Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and Benedict Rogers, a journalist, is co-founder and CEO of Hong Kong Watch.
Kate Saunders, an author, writer and Tibet specialist, chaired the webinar. Kate was Research Director at International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) where she also served as Communications Director. Prior to that Kate worked for (now defunct) Tibet Information Network, London-based Tibet Research News Agency, which was a very reputable agency at the time of its existence.
Tsering Passang, Founder and Convener of the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities, introduced the panellists and gave welcome and concluding remarks. (ANI)