Panchen Lama vigil

A Tibetan boy at the May 17th 2005 Panchen Lama vigil held at Dharamsala

On May 17th, in a coordinated Global action organized by the International Tibet Support Network (ITSN)’s member organizations, thousands of Tibetans and Tibet supporters worldwide mourned the 10-year anniversary of China’s abduction of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet. For 10 years, China has refused independent access to the Panchen Lama, one of Tibet’s most important religious leaders, despite mounting international outcry for his release.

The “Global Vigil for Tibet’s Panchen Lama,” started in Wellington, New Zealand at 7.00 am local time and joined by ITSN member organizations at 66 venues in 21 countries, the 34 hours relay event ended with a vigil held in Honolulu, Hawaii at 7.00 pm (HST).

It was an “outstanding day of activism,” said Mr. Andrew Preston, Co-Chair, ITSN Steering Committee. “As a network, we are demonstrating more and more regularly that we can pack a punch. If we put our heads together, think globally and act locally, we can really make a difference.”

Vigils took place in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Venezuela, the UK and the United States.

“China believes that it can remain silent on the wellbeing and whereabouts of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima – Tibet’s real Panchen Lama. It is making a poor judgment call,” said Ms. Susan Mizrahi, Chair of the ITSN Panchen Lama Working Group and ICT Campaigns Coordinator. “China will never win the favor of Tibet’s people by keeping the Panchen Lama from them and by interfering in their religion.”

Images of and stories from these events held world-wide will soon be displayed on the official ITSN Panchen Lama website at

Stolen Words, Forbidden Images Competition

To mark the 10th anniversary of the Panchen Lama’s disappearance, ITSN yesterday also launched an art competition for people aged six to 16.

“Stolen Words, Forbidden Images: International Youth Art Competition for Tibet’s Panchen Lama” is designed to raise awareness about the Panchen Lama and Tibet among the world’s youth and provides a special opportunity for children to have their creativity and talents put towards furthering an important cause. Entries should be submitted by October 17, 2005 and the winners will be announced on International Children’s Day (November 20). For more information, go to

The International Tibet Support Network (ITSN) is a network of Tibet related non-governmental organizations from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australasia and Europe. The ITSN works to maximise the effectiveness of international Tibet support movement which is dedicated to ending human rights violations in Tibet and to actively support the Tibetan people’s right under international law to determine their future political, economic, social, religious and cultural rights. The Network works through an elected Steering Committee to co-ordinate strategic campaigns and action plans based on close consultation with its members.