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China insists real Panchen fine as new report shows how it dictated Gyatsen's selection

July 6, 2010

Tibetan Review
July 4, 2010

China has again claimed that the 11th Panchen
Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is doing well but, as
before, refused to let anyone to see whether this
is really true. ''The young Tibetan person -- is
studying and living in quite good condition,''
The Age (Australia ) Jul 3 quoted Hao Peng, deputy
head of the Communist Party and executive
vice-chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, as
saying in Lhasa. Meanwhile, a new report reveals
how the selection of Gyaltsen Norbu as the 11th
Panchen Lama was dictated by China, with the
recognition process being rigged for the purpose.

Hao’s comment came in answer to a question from
the newspaper whose reporter was on a
government-organised tour of Tibet with other
foreign media journalists in a tightly controlled group.

"He and his family members do not want to be
disturbed, so we have to respect their wishes and we cannot arrange a visit."

Hao has also said the condition of Chadrel
Rinpoche, the jailed abbot of Tashilhunpo
monastery and the head of the Chinese appointed
Panchen Lama reincarnation search committee, was "very good."

Chadrel was jailed after he conveyed his
committee’s finding to the Dalai Lama, which
enabled the later to declare Gedhun Choekyi Nyima
as the genuine reincarnation of the 10th Panchen
Lama.  He continues to remain disappeared even
though his prison term had expired and was even released briefly.

The report said a recently published personal
compilation by the then Tibet Party boss, Chen
Kuiyuan, shows that in 1994 Chen sought and
apparently received Beijing's permission to
ignore the Dalai Lama, sideline Chadrel Rinpoche
-- but not yet destroy him -- and impose his own
interpretation of a rarely used Qing dynasty
suggestion for the appointment of a Panchen Lama
and other high-level reincarnations.

"We stated explicitly again that the monastery
should report three candidates for the soul
children, and that it will then be decided by the
drawing of lots from a golden urn," Chen was
reported to have written in an Apr 3, 1994 report
to the central United Front Department on
dealings with Tashilhunpo Monastery leaders. The
department is the party institution with
responsibility for dividing and conquering potential rivals.

The report said the entire process was rigged
amid tight security to select Gyaltsen Norbu as
the 11th Panchen Lama. Before dawn on Nov 29,
1995, as snipers patrolled the roof of Lhasa's
ancient and famous Jokhang Temple, a senior and
politically reliable monk carefully plucked a
tally stick protruding out of a golden urn, it
said. Television observers noticed that the
winning stick -- on which Gyaltsen Norbu’s name
was written -- was longer than the others and a
monk involved in the process later said that it was rigged.

Three senior Chinese politicians, including
future national security chief Luo Gan, were
filmed witnessing the ritual with their shoes on
and with their backs facing a statue of a Buddha
-- indicating unfamiliarity with the ceremonial
sensitivities of Tibetan Buddhism, the report noted.

Chen’s 1994 internal reports is said to show him
offering to open the vaults of the Chinese state
to Tashilhunpo monks who would co-operate, as
well as promising to “ruin” those who did not.
Patriotic monks would be recognised "for their
contribution to religion and to the country,"
Chen was reported to have said. "The monastery
would gain more trust and more assistance from the party and the country."

And as the foreign journalists toured the
Tashilhunpo, the traditional seat of the
successive Panchen Lamas, their movements were
tightly corralled. On the other hand, the
monastery’s Chinese appointed director Nian Zha
spoke to the visiting journalists about Gyaltsen
Norbu being the real 11th Panchen Lama. "All the
believers here respect and worship him," the report quoted him as claiming.
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