Gyaltsen Norbu, the boy selected by the Chinese Government as the Panchen Lama, has arrived in the Kumbum Monastery (Ch: Taersi) in Amdo in present-day Qinghai Province, according to reliable information.

The boy will be in Kumbum Monastery for some time and is expected to visit the Labrang Tashi Khyil Monastery (Ch: Xiahe), in present-day Gansu Province thereafter, sources said.

There is report that the authorities are offering the public in Kumbum monetary incentive to make the traditional prostration to the boy. Despite official Chinese patronage, the majority of Tibetans continue to revere Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, recognized by the Dalai Lama as the Panchen Lama. Gedhun Choekyi Nyima has not been heard of since his detention in May 1995 after being recognized by the Dalai Lama. The boy appointed by the Chinese Government has also been very rarely seen and has not been staying at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama in Tibet.

Kumbum Monastery, around 17 miles southwest of Xining, is one of the six leading monasteries of the Geluk lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. It was founded in the 16th century and is believed to be build on the birthplace of Je Tsongkhapa, Tibetan Buddhist master and founder of the Geluk lineage.

According to information received, Luo Gan, who is a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and also director of the Central Committee for the Comprehensive Management of Public Security, visited Kumbum during a low profile tour of Qinghai between June 20 and 23, 2003 to prepare for the boy’s visit. Luo is said to have inspected the rooms, traditionally set aside for the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, during his visit to the monastery.

The Xinhua report on Luo’s Qinghai visit did not have any mention of a trip to Kumbum. It merely said, “During his stay in the underdeveloped province, Luo visited local enterprises, communities and villages, as well as police stations and courts.”