TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – China sent the man it appointed as the second most powerful official in Tibetan Buddhism, the Panchen Lama, on a visit to Thailand last month, the Reuters news agency reported.
The Dalai Lama once selected a six-year-old boy as his Panchen Lama, but he was abducted by China’s communist government and has not been seen in the more than two decades since.
In 1995, Beijing picked a man named Gyaltsen Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama, reportedly in an effort to create a pro-Chinese alternative to the immensely popular Dalai Lama.
In the middle of May, China’s Panchen Lama arrived in Thailand for his first trip outside of China, though he visited Hong Kong in 2012, Reuters quoted the Chinese media as saying. He reportedly gave a speech at a Buddhist university in Bangkok and attended other religious events and exchanges.
The Panchen Lama was quoted by the Chinese media as praising the authorities for making the people “rich and strong.”