Free the Panchen Lama
Tibet is rated the world’s second-least free country, a position it has held for the past few years. Tibetans live in a surveillance state where all aspects of public and private lives are closely monitored. As millions of Chinese tourists and business people flood Tibet every year, the Tibetan culture and environment come under increasing attack. Those who seek to protect their culture and environment and defend the fundamental human rights that are guaranteed under Chinese law are imprisoned and tortured.
Today there are hundreds of political prisoners in Tibet. Some are serving anywhere from 3 to 15 years of imprisonment and others are facing life sentences.
They are the voiceless Tibetans. They are the Tibetan heroes. One of them, the most significant of all, is the Panchen Lama of Tibet.
2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the disappearance of the Panchen Lama.
On 17 May 1995, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, a six-year-old boy in eastern Tibet was kidnapped by the Chinese government soon after he was recognised by the Dalai Lama as the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet. Being the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism, the Panchen Lama commands deep reverence and influence among Tibetans. To the Chinese, the young boy was seen as a future threat to their authority in Tibet. And hence China appointed its own Panchen Lama.
The state of the real Panchen Lama’s wellbeing is one of China’s top secrets for the last 25 years. Over this time, the international community has forgotten him.
On 17 May, we are kicking off a year-long campaign to bring renewed awareness of the case of the kidnapped Panchen Lama and therefore the situation in Tibet.
With your support, we will raise grassroots awareness of what is happening in Tibet and increase pressure on China to release the Panchen Lama and Tibet’s political prisoners.
- We will take part in a coordinated giant billboard action in 25 cities across the world to draw attention to the Panchen Lama’s story.
- We will launch a Tibetan speaker tour that will travel to major towns and cities and educate the Australian public and build grassroots support.
- We will lobby our politicians to speak up for the Tibetan heroes and increase political pressure on China.