Dharamsala: The Tibetan government-in-exile in this Himachal Pradesh town Monday wrote a missive to China, expressing concern over the whereabouts of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, whom the Dalai Lama has recognised as the 11th Panchen Lama.
"According to media reports, Japanese journalist Yoichi Shimatsu had at a conference at Qinghua University in Beijing stated that Nyima had died of cancer some years ago, which is in total contradiction to your government's (Chinese) stated position that all is well with the Panchen Lama," Speaker of Tibetan Parliament Penpa Tsering said in a statement posted on his official website.
"All Tibetans are deeply concerned and worried about the statement if it is true. Therefore, we call on you to make it clear to the whole world whether the Panchen Lama is still alive or not...We also urge you to reinstate him to his rightful position," the speaker said.
Tibetans in exile across the world Saturday marked the 20th birthday of the 11th Panchen Lama. They offered long life prayers and called on the Chinese government to release him.
Nyima and his parents disappeared a day after the Dalai Lama recognised him as the 11th Panchen Lama on
May 14, 1995.
However, the Chinese have recognised Gyaltsen Norbu, 19, as the 11th incarnation of the Panchen Lama.
The Tibetan-government-in exile is based here since 1959 when the Dalai Lama fled Tibet and sought sanctuary in India. Around 100,000 Tibetans live across India.