Nineteen-year-old Gyaltsen Norbu, named the 11th Panchen Lama by Chinese officials in 1995, has been appointed to China’s top advisory board (see New York Times article). It’s viewed by many Western observers as a move to promote Gyaltsen Norbu as a future leader of the Tibetan people, though it’s unlikely to have that effect. The Dalai Lama identified another boy as the Panchen Lama in 1995—Gedhun Choekyi Nyima (left)—and a few weeks after the announcement, the boy and his family vanished. Chinese officials claim they are in protective custody. Efforts continue to find the Panchen Lama and gain his release from Chinese custody. The Panchen Lama is the second-highest-ranking lama after the Dalai Lama in the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, and is believed to be the reincarnation of Amitabha Buddha.
China’s Panchen Lama receives top appointment
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