Ned Price, Department Spokesperson
Today marks the 33rd birthday of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama, who remains missing since PRC authorities abducted him as a six-year-old child on May 17, 1995. The PRC continues to deny members of the Tibetan community access to the Dalai Lama-designated Panchen Lama, the second most revered figure in Tibetan Buddhism, and instead continues to promote a state-selected proxy.
We urge PRC authorities to account for Gedhun Choekyi Nyima’s whereabouts and well-being immediately and to allow him to fully exercise his human rights and fundamental freedoms, in line with the PRC’s international commitments. The United States supports Tibetans’ religious freedom and their unique religious, cultural, and linguistic identity, including Tibetans’ right to select, educate, and venerate their own leaders, like the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, according to their own beliefs and without government interference.