Gyaltsen Norbu toured Tibet this year and talked to captive audiences, compelled to listen to him by the CCP security.
by Ugyen Gyalpo
May 17, 2020. marked the 25th anniversary of the kidnapping and disappearance of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. He was recognized by His Holiness the fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet as the reincarnation of the 11th Panchen Lama on May 19, 1995 at the tender age of six.
Ever since his disappearance, he instantly became the world’s youngest political prisoner. After such a long time, his whereabouts are still completely unknown. Earlier this year, to coincide with the 25th anniversary since his “abduction”—not by fictional aliens but the real dreaded Chinese Communist Party—thanks to a Tibet support group, a U.K.-based facial aging expert came up with a photo of the abducted 11th Panchen Lama, to give a sense of how he would look like if he would still be alive. This brought outright emotional tears and outpouring applause.
Many Tibetans were so happy to see this new photo that they were quick to frame and enshrine it into their home altars and monasteries. After the worldwide condemnation of China’s refusal to disclose the real Panchen Lama’s whereabouts, in the most twisted ways of unfolding secrets, the hallmark of the CCP, they have now said that the boy who disappeared 25 years ago, after being handpicked by the Dalai Lama as the second highest figure after the Dalai Lama himself, is now a college graduate with a stable job.
As this ghastly story was being cooked by the regime, I was dumbfounded by their crooked effort to give the world an alleged update about the Panchen Lama. While the fake Panchen Lama tours around Tibet and China giving teaching to a captive Tibetan audience, the real Panchen Lama continues to remain missing. This is a lie that the CCP can sell to the world but not to the Tibetan people.
In the same vein, it is almost impossible to imagine a Tibetan existence without the Dalai Lama. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is synonymous of Tibet, just like the sun is synonymous of the light. Even after six plus decades of atrocious rule and totalitarian control over Tibet by the CCP, their attempts to win fully over Tibetans both politically and spiritually have failed. After carving their covert stratagem from the kidnapping of the Dalai Lama-appointed Panchen Lama to install their fake one, they may try to politicize, intervene, and take control of the reincarnation of the 15th Dalai Lama after the latter succumbs to the law of impermanence. But the truth is, the CCP has failed to win over the hearts and penetrate the moated and unbreakable faith of the Tibetan people, and its respect for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The outright rejection and mockery of the fake Panchen Lama, appointed by an atheist Party, is a manifestation of total disapproval by the Tibetans both inside and outside Tibet. It is on record that Mao Zedong once said to the young Dalai Lama that religion is poison. Yet, ironically in a campaign to win over Tibetans and interfere in the religious affairs of Tibet, Beijing’s handpicked Panchen Lama continues to make public appearances, forcing and compelling dehumanized Tibetans under the barrel of a gun to welcome him and even listen to his phony teachings.
Gyaltsen Norbu is his Tibetan name given by the Party. His frequent and increased presence inside Tibet, this year from the end of July to the first week of October, has raised eyebrows and cast in cement the idea that his ultimate role is not only being used as a tool to intervene into the process of the future reincarnation of the Dalai Lama but also to spread Socialist ideologies and “sinicize” Tibetan Buddhism altogether.
He is also reported to have said in one of the meeting in Nyingchi that Tibetan monks continuously enjoy religious freedom, and that the freedom of religion is protected under the Chinese Constitution. This is blatantly contradicted by the destruction of thousands of monasteries and the recent demolition of Larung Gar, one of the largest centers of Buddhist learning in Tibet, where thousands of monks and nuns were uprooted from their spiritual quest, just like thousands of Tibetan people were uprooted from their ancient traditional nomadic and pastoral lifestyle into forced labor programs. It is estimated that this year the CCP has forcefully taken over half a million Tibetans into forced labor programs, strewn into secret location across China.
China’s rampant misinformation campaign and state-sponsored distortion of historical truth has already brought the Tibetan civilization to the brink of extinction. The “sinicization” of Tibetan history, arts and culture is well underway. Even the Thangka painting schools in Tibet have started adding Chinese characters into this ancient Tibetan Buddhist art. The forced assimilation of Tibetans with the Han Chinese has intensified suppression and marginalization of ethnic Tibetans, leaving them miserable, underemployed, and disenfranchised.
Tibetans in their own country have become beggars in their own streets. and women are forced into prostitutions to make their ends meet. This has truly harkened what an eminent Chinese anthropologist, Fei Xiaotong, wrote about the strategy of forced assimilation. “Through a long process of mixing and melding, Fei said, the Han majority and other ethnic groups in China would eventually combine into a single entity. The Han would be at the center of the fusion, because they are the superior culture into which so called backward minority groups will inevitably assimilate.”
To hammer on China’s narrative that Tibetans were liberated from serfdom and feudalistic society, Gyaltsen Norbu, the fake Panchen Lama appointed by the CCP, while on his visit to a township under the jurisdiction of the Yadong county for a socioeconomic research, acting as if he genuinely cared about the Tibetan people as a real Panchen Lama would, said he was happy and relieved to see Tibetan families earning much more, combined with government subsidies they were receiving. He is also reported to have said that “Life is better, and your children can attend school now,” directly contradicting the factual reality that in Tibet, Tibetans are forced into learning Chinese. Tibetan language, their mother language that defines a thousand-year-old civilization and culture, is scraped off and completely denied.
It is a well-known fact that Tibetan language right activist, Tashi Wangchuk, who wanted to fight for the right to learn Tibetan language playing by the rules of the Chinese constitution, was arbitrarily imprisoned and sentenced to prison for the charges of inciting separatism. He has long been a peaceful advocate for Tibetan language, and still to this day after almost five years is languishing in a Chinese prison.
The fake Panchen Lama also attended and conducted Buddhist activities and sutras recitations at Tashi Lhunpo monastery, the traditional monastic seat of the real Panchen Lama, amidst hundreds of suppressed, subdued monks, compelled to welcome, listen, and yield to his forced spiritual reckoning under the watchful eyes of the Chinese police, and the ever-present surveillance cameras all around.
The fake Panchen Lama on his tour of Tibet also visited a Sakya monastery, one of the four main lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, where he said that “Tibetan Buddhism, as a part of the excellent traditional culture of the Chinese nation should be oriented towards sinicization and adapted to Socialist society,” This again directly contradicts the history of Tibetan Buddhism, which is not part of the Chinese nation and culture. Buddhism was introduced by one of the greatest emperors of Tibet, King Songtsen Gampo, in the seventh century. He once reigned supreme, so much so that to obtain a peace agreement, an imperial prince of the Tang Dynasty, Li Daozong, gave his daughter, Princess Wencheng, in marriage to the fierce emperor of Tibet to thwart an imminent attack. King Songtsen Gampo also unified Tibet, and expanded the Tibetan empire, and ended the war between states in Tibet. He moved the capital of Tibet to Lhasa, which still to this day remains the capital city.
Almost a century later, under the reign of Tibetan King Trisong Detsen, who invited two Buddhist masters to Tibet from India, Buddhism spread like wildfire across all the Tibetan region. Tibet has always been a de facto independent country, with distinct language, culture, heritage, and script, united by a single faith in the Dalai Lamas and Tibetan Buddhism. In 1913, the 13th Dalai Lama of Tibet, right after the collapse of the imperial Qing dynasty and the beginning of the Republic of China, formally declared Tibet’s independence.
Tibet was and continues to remain a laboratory to test all kinds of atrocities mankind can endure. The ruthless and systematic oppression of Tibet has been relentless since 1959, and is now replicated in places like East Turkestan (Xinjiang) and Southern (Inner) Mongolia. The kind of sinicization campaign that is happening in Tibet in all aspects of life and art is also happening in our spiritual world by means of politicizing the Panchen Lama seat, which, as mentioned earlier, is the second highest seat in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama’s.
This sinicization campaign is played out by the CCP in other areas as well. From incentivizing Tibetans to collocate the picture of Xi Jinping in place of the statues of Buddhist deities in their altars, to “translating” the Quran in Chinese language in East Turkestan to make the holy book sound compliant with the CCP’s ideology, to replacing Mongolian with Chinese language in Southern Mongolian schools, the sinicization campaign by the CCP is in full swing as I write this article.
It is a fact that the CCP spends almost half a billion dollars a year in distorting facts, spreading lies, and vilify His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Also, they invest billions to control thoughts beyond the borders of China. In one of the latest news, Xi Jinping ordered the erasure of Genghis Khan from the Chinese history books. Genghis Khan was one of the greatest Emperor of the Mongol empire, whose rule spread from Central Asia to as far as Poland in Europe and Levant in the Middle East. The result would be that the Chinese people will grow up learning a history that is only fed to them to suit the CCP narrative. For them, four plus four will always be five.
China can destroy the Tibetan people, but they will never be able to break the indomitable Tibetan spirit that is still so well and alive. Despite sixty plus years of dehumanization and systematic destruction of their civilization, despite forced indoctrination, despite the death of many older generations of Tibetans who lived through the occupation, Tibetan children inside of Tibet who have never seen the light of freedom or the banned Tibetan national flag, seem now to be rising from the ashes when they were left for dead.
This is a testament that, no matter what China does, no matter how much they do to replace our culture, no matter how much they force us into embracing a fake Panchen Lama under the barrel of the gun, the Tibetan spirit is so old and deeply rooted that a Communist Party that is only seventy years old can never dream to wipe and replace it.
The Dalai Lama will continue to remain Tibet’s symbol, and the fake Panchen Lama will remain a laughingstock among Tibetans. He will never be accepted by the Tibetan people, and the CCP will never be accepted as the arbiter of Tibet’s spirituality. Even if we talk of the future, a Chinese-piked reincarnation of the Dalai Lama will never be accepted by the Tibetans even if they are shot through their eyes. The CCP’s handpicked Dalai Lama will just be another laughingstock just like their fake Panchen Lama.