Peking jails abbot over reincarnation of Tibetan lama

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The Independent Online
It is almost exactly two years since the exiled Dalai Lama infuriated Peking by anointing six-year-old Gendun Choekyi Nyima as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, the second holiest figure in the Tibetan religious hierarchy.

The little boy and his parents have not been seen since, after being taken into "safe custody" by the Chinese, who subsequently chose Gyaincin Norbu, 6, as the 11th Panchen Lama. He is now undergoing intensive training at Tashilhunpo, central Tibet, under Peking-appointed tutor monks.

Nor, until yesterday, had there been official news about the man in charge of Peking's search for the Lama - Chadrel Rinpoche, then acting abbot at Tashilhunpo. He was detained in May 1995, days after the Dalai Lama named Gendun.

Only now has the Xinhua news agency announced that, at a secret trial last month, Chadrel Rinpoche was sentenced to six years in jail for allegedly passing information on Peking's search to the Dalai Lama. Two of the abbot's aides were also jailed; Xinhua said the three had "committed the crime of splitting the country". Most Tibetans believe Gedhun is the true reincarnation.

Teresa Poole