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8th Birthday Panchen Lama, Chinese

Subject: 8th Birthday Panchen Lama, Chinese prison

The 8th Birthday of Gendhun Choekyi Nyima, The Panchen Lama
Speech by Thubten Jigme Norbu
Ithaca, New York
April 25, 1997

This is a very sad day for me. Our young, 8 year old Panchen Lama,
Choekyi Nyima, remains under detention somewhere near Beijing, cut off
all contact with Tibetans who revere Him as one of our most important
religious figures. This is an especially sad day, however, because this
the second time I have had to speak out on the Panchen Lama's Birthday,
pleading to the world to turn its attention to this poor child who is a
prisoner of one of the most brutal regimes of this century, even though
Himself is innocent of any crime. In fact, the imprisonment of The
Lama is a clear cut example of the kind of brutal force that the Tibetan
people have had to deal with for many years.

For this reason, I would like to repeat some of what I said last year in
front of the United Nations when a group of us completed our 45-day walk
Washington, D.C. to New York City. The fact that another year has gone
marking almost two years of imprisonment for Gendhun Choekyi Nyima,
makes it
even more important for us to truly understand why we are struggling for
independence of Tibet.

Last year, I told you that I too had been held prisoner in my own
called Kumbum Monastery, over 45 years ago, when China was plotting to
extinguish Tibet's independence. For that reason, I think I can imagine
of the suffering of the young Panchen Lama. But, faced with an
power that commits such acts we can understand why independence for
is necessary. It is neither unrealistic nor extreme. The question of
what is
realistic and unrealistic is simply a matter of our determination to
stand by
the Tibetan people inside Tibet, who are firm in their determination to
safeguard the Tibetan nation for future generations of Tibetans.

Tibet can triumph if Tibetans and their supporters make our national
for independence the firm element that anyone concerned about
must deal with. As for the idea that independence for Tibet is extreme,
will simply point out that Tibetans are nowhere demanding vengeance for
horrors that China has inflicted on us for more than four decades. The
struggle for independence is one that easily lends itself to
non-violence and
reason. This is hardly an extreme position. But Tibet must be
independent and
in a position to deal with China as an independent party for any
accommodation between our two countries to have any hope of lasting.

I urge each of you to speak out for Gendhun Choekyi Nyima. As the
political prisoner on the planet, Gendhun Choekyi Nyima currently has no
rights, no freedom, and no legal representation. In fact, it is
that no one from the free world has seen or spoken with Him since He
disappeared on May 17th, 1995. And, no organization including the United
Nations, Amnesty International, and the U.S. State Department has been
to confirm whether He is alive or dead.

Gendhun Choekyi Nyima's situation is a great tragedy and a very clear
statement about The PRC's cruelty toward Tibetans and The PRC's plan for
future of Tibet. We can no longer remain silent. We must take action
immediately. We must also continue to act each day until the 8 year old
Panchen Lama is able to be in our presence.

Let others know about the disappearance of Gendhun Choekyi Nyima. Write
government officials and members of the human rights community. Demand
the young Panchen Lama be released along with His family and persons
in His discovery. Gendhun Choekyi Nyima must be permitted to serve His
and He must be allowed to live freely among the world community. As we
here today, an extremely wise and gifted 8 year old child is probably
tortured. I cannot fully express my sadness and concern about His
I pray for Gendhun Choekyi Nyima's health, safety, immediate release,
long life. I anxiously wait for the day when all of us can be in His
and receive His blessings. Please join me now and chant with me:

Long Live Gendhun Choekyi Nyima!
Long Live Gendhun Choekyi Nyima!
Long Live Gendhun Choekyi Nyima!

Thank you for supporting Gendhun Choekyi Nyima and the "March for
Independence." Please join us in New York City on June 14th as we
our 600-mile walk at the United Nations. The future of Tibet is all of
responsibility and I respectfully ask that each of you take action to
Tibet regain its independence.