Rival Child Lamas Grow Up in Political Controversy

August 22, 2005

Source: Reuters


On August 22, 2005 Reuters reported, "Gyaltsen Norbu has been groomed since childhood to prepare for his role as the 11th Panchen Lama, the reincarnation of the 10th and the second-most important figure in Tibetan Buddhism. But while he received politically vetted religious training under the close watch of China's leaders, another boy is believed to have grown up under house arrest, dubbed the world's youngest political prisoner. The first boy was chosen by the Chinese government. The second, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, was anointed by the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader and Beijing's nemesis since he fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule. Ten years on, with the official Panchen Lama now a teen-ager and expected to take on a larger role, the Chinese government is being forced to come face-to-face with the question of acceptance for its choice in the towns and villages of Tibet, where many maintain a secret loyalty to the Dalai Lama.