Panchen Lama leading ‘normal life’

20 May, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Panchen Lama leading ‘normal life’

A child who disappeared 25 years ago after being appointed as a Tibetan Buddhist leader by the Dalai Lama is now living a ‘normal life’ after graduating from university, China said Tuesday following US calls to reveal his location, reports AFP.

The Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India and enjoys a wide global following, in May 1995 identified Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, the second most senior figure in Tibetan Buddhism's largest school. The six-year-old boy was taken into custody three days later and has not been seen since,  with human rights groups calling him the world's youngest political prisoner.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday demanded that China "immediately" reveal his whereabouts. "Tibetan Buddhists, like members of all faith communities, must be able to select, educate and venerate their religious leaders according to their traditions and without government interference," Pompeo said in a statement.

China's foreign ministry said Gedhun Choekyi Nyima had received "national compulsory education" before entering university, and that he and his family "don't wish for outsiders to interfere in their normal lives", in a rare statement.