August 25, 2016 – On the eve of Justin Trudeau’s visit to China, the Canada Tibet Committee (CTC) is urging the Prime Minister to seek new information about the health and whereabouts of Tibet’s Panchen Lama, Gendhun Choekyi Nyima and his family.
Gendhun Choekyi Nyima was 6 years old when he was abducted by Chinese authorities in 1995. Neither he nor his family have been seen or heard from since .
“China has admitted holding the Panchen Lama on numerous occasions including at the United Nations” said Carole Samdup, Executive Director of the Canada Tibet Committee . “And yet after more than 20 years there is still no evidence that the boy is alive, nor have international observers been granted permission to meet with him to ascertain his wellbeing.”
A petition currently gathering signatures on the Parliament of Canada website asks that the Government of Canada request the immediate release of the Panchen Lama and seek permission for a Canadian parliamentary delegation to verify his wellbeing in person. The petition was sponsored by Parliamentary Friends of Tibet Vice-Chair, MP Randall Garrison .
The Panchen Lama is the second highest religious leader of the Gelupa school of Tibetan Buddhism which is headed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Traditionally Panchen Lamas have played a key role in the Dalai Lama’s succession process.
There are more than 2000 political prisoners in Tibet .
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 The Panchen Lama’s case has been adopted by prominent human rights organizations and by governments, including Canada. At the time of his abduction, Amnesty International named him “the world’s youngest political prisoner”.
 Most recently, in September 2015, a senior Chinese official said that the boy is “living a normal life” and does not want to be disturbed. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/06/china-says-panchen-lama-living-a-normal-life-20-years-after-disappearance
 A prisoner database is maintained by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. http://www.tchrd.org/tchrd_pdb/prisoners-database/