Five Tibetans residing in Minneapolis will begin a bicycle ride from St. Paul, MN to Chicago, IL on April 17, 2002 to highlight the issue of the detained Panchen Lama.

State Senator Satveer Chaudhary will flag them off at a ceremony on April 17 morning at the state Capitol. The bikers will reach the Chinese consulate in Chicago on April 25, 2002, the birthday of the Panchen Lama.The Tibetan community in Minnesota will hold a daylong vigil for the Panchen Lama at the state capitol.

The Dalai Lama recognized Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the Panchen Lama in 1995, and the Chinese government abducted him with his family. He was six years old at the time. In spite of an international outcry, the Panchen Lama has not been seen in public since then.

The Minnesota bikers will join members of the Chicago Tibetan community in a peaceful demonstration in front of the Chinese consulate in Chicago on April 25.

The bikers, Rinpo Tenzin, Rabka, Uggen Jigmey, Nyima Tsering, Nawang Recho and Tenzin Khenrab, will stop in the following locations: Northfield, MN; Rochester, MN; LaCrosse, WI; Spring Green, WI; Madison, WI; Janesville, WI; McHenry, IL; and Chicago IL. At most stops they will present a program about the Panchen Lama and the situation in Tibet and distribute an action pact as well as screen a documentary on the Panchen Lama.

The Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota and the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress are sponsoring the ride and vigil. For more information call 612-872-4866.