Posted on April 26, 2023.
25th April 2023. His Eminence Zeegkyab Rinpoche, the Abbot, and Venerable Kelkhang Rinpoche, the General Secretary of the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, joined Hon’ble Sikyong Penpa Tsering, President of the Central Tibetan Administration, and others to highlight the continued lack of Religious Freedom in Tibet, particularly the case of our beloved spiritual leader Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, His Holiness the 11th Panchen Lama, in the UK Parliament on his 34th birthday – 25th April.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama recognised Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the true reincarnation of the previous 10th Panchen Lama on 14th May 1995. A few days after this announcement, the young six-year old Panchen Rinpoche, along with his parents and His Eminence Jadrel Rinpoche, Head of the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, Shigatse (Tibet), all went missing.
Thanks to Wera Webhouse MP, a “drop-in” session was held in the UK Parliament to highlight the plight of our spiritual leader. This first-time “drop-in” session provided a meaningful opportunity for MPs and their parliamentary staff to learn more about the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, Tibetan Buddhist culture, and the case of the missing 11th Panchen Lama.
We were all very overwhelmed by the warm support and solidarity expressed by UK parliamentarians and officials. Nearly 30 MPs and their staff also came to see us in the Portcullis House during the “drop-in” session.
Later in the afternoon, Tim Loughton MP, Co-Chair of The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Tibet hosted a special session with Hon’ble Sikyong Penpa Tsering. Whilst giving the address, Sikyong Penpa Tsering also highlighted the historical relations between the United Kingdom and independent Tibet, and he urged the UK government to extend all its support towards the resolution of the China-Tibet conflict.
This was then followed by a 90-minute Hearing with Sikyong Penpa Tsering and His Eminence Zeegkyab Rinpoche amongst others. They spoke on the lack of Religious Freedom in Tibet and specially highlighted the case of the 11th Panchen Lama. Hosted by The All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB), this special hearing was chaired by Lord David Alton, a senior political figure from the House of Lords.
The day ended with the 34th Birthday Dinner Reception in honour of His Holiness the 11th Panchen Lama, at the Cinnamon Club, which was attended by Sikyong Penpa Tsering and MPs.
The Tashi Lhunpo Monastery wishes to acknowledge and express our heartfelt appreciation and thanks to all concerned stakeholders including The Office of Tibet, The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet, The All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) and the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery UK Trust for their amazing support.