Panchen Lama Vigil

Phuntsog Nyidron (right) with others outside the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC during the vigil on the 17th anniversary of the Panchen Lama’s birth.

Tibetans and Tibet supporters in the Washington, D.C. area held a candlelight prayer vigil in front of the Chinese Embassy here on April 26, 2006 evening to mark the 17th birthday of the Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima.

The vigil began with the recitation of the special prayer for the wellbeing of the Panchen Lama composed by the Dalai Lama. The Vice President of the Capital Area Tibetan Association (CATA), Mr. Tenzin Barshee, informed the gathering about the significance of the day. He said although we ought to be in a celebratory mood as this was the birthday of the Panchen Lama, yet the sad fact remained that he has been under detention for the last more than 10 years.

Former political prisoner Phuntsog Nyidron was among those who participated in the vigil. Participants wore placards with images of the Panchen Lama and the words “Missing” in bold letters. Many participants also signed postcards addressed to the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan asking him to intervene on behalf of the Panchen Lama.

The post card said, “Secretary General Annan, in this 10th year of Gedhun Choeky Nyima’s detention we believe that you alone have the authority and the mandate to convince the Chinese government that allowing international access to this boy is in China’s own best interests. For as long as Gedhun Choekyi Nyima is missing, China cannot enter the world stage free from condemnation. We urge you in the strongest terms to make the fate of this boy a personal priority in your final year in office. Please make this your legacy to the Tibetan people.”

The vigil was organized by the Capital Area Tibetan Association and the International Campaign for Tibet.