He was called the world’s youngest political prisoner when, as a six-year-old, he was taken into Chinese custody in 1995. He has not been seen or heard of since.
Indeed, the only image the world has of the Tibetan-anointed Panchen Lama, who turns 19 this month, is of a ruddy-cheeked infant staring apprehensively ahead. And apprehensive he may well have been.
For whatever his fate since then, it most certainly has not involved sitting on a gilded throne in Tibet’s ancient Tashilumpo monastery, his traditional home amid the snow-capped Himalayan mountains of Xigaze, surrounded by chanting red-robed monks.
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