Call to Release the Panchen Lama

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)

Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today reiterated its call for the Chinese government to release Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, one of USCIRF’s Religious Prisoners of Conscience. On May 15, 1995, His Holiness the Dalai Lama chose the then six-year-old Gedhun to be the 11th Panchen Lama. Three days later, Chinese authorities kidnapped him and his family. He has not been seen or heard from since.

The second highest lama in Tibetan Buddhism is the Panchen Lama. The title Panchen Lama, meaning “great scholar,” was bestowed by the Fifth Dalai Lama on a tulku who was fourth in a lineage of rebirths, and so he became the 4th Panchen Lama.

The current Panchen Lama is the 11th. However, His Holiness Gedhun Choekyi Nyima (born 1989) and his family were taken into Chinese custody shortly after his recognition was made public in 1995. The Panchen Lama and his family have not been seen since. A pretender appointed by Beijing, Gyaltsen Norbu, has served as Panchen Lama in his place.

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Designation of Uyghur Muslims’ Treatment in China as Genocide

Logo of United States Commission on International Religious FreedomWashington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) applauds the U.S. Department of State for designating China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as genocide and crimes against humanity.

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New Report about Conscientious Objection

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)

Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the a new legislation factsheet about conscientious objection, which is the right to refuse military service based on religious beliefs.

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USCIRF Warns that Forced Sterilization of Uyghur Muslims is Evidence of Genocide

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) warned that the Chinese government’s repressive population control measures against Uyghur and other Muslims—including forced sterilization—might meet the legal criteria for genocide under international law.

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USCIRF Urges Thailand and Malaysia to Protect Rohingya Muslim Refugees Stranded at Sea

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)

Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) calls on the governments of Thailand and Malaysia to admit boats carrying Rohingya Muslim refugees stranded at sea.

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USCIRF Releases New Factsheet on China’s Regulation of Religious Groups

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the following new factsheet on China’s regulation of religious groups: China Factsheet – On February 1, 2020, the Chinese government’s Administrative Measures for Religious Groups went into effect. This regulation requires religious groups to obtain government permission for nearly every aspect of their operations.

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