This just in from the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy:
17 Years and Counting: Disappearance of Panchen Lama
Today is the 23rd birthday of the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, one of the most important spiritual leaders of Tibet, who disappeared into the custody of the Chinese government 17 years ago.
On 14 May 1995, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama announced the then six-year-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the incarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama. Three days later, on 17 May 1995, the Chinese government secretly abducted the six-year-old boy and his parents who remain ‘disappeared’ to this day. There is no confirmed information on their well-being or if they are still alive.
Even after 17 years, no one - save the Chinese government - can confirm with reliable accuracy the current whereabouts and condition of the 11th Panchen Lama and his parents. Despite repeated interventions from the representatives of the United Nations Human Rights Council, UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance, and other governmental and non-governmental organizations calling on China to disclose information on the Panchen Lama, the Chinese government has so far refused to share any detailed information that could shed important light on the Panchen Lama's current state. In its standard response, the Chinese government continues to maintain that Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family are in perfect health and that they do not wish to be disturbed.
TCHRD is the only human rights NGO entirely run and staffed by Tibetans in exile.