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Monday, 6 December 1999
Page: 12924


Mr Danby asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 21 October 1999:

(1) What representations has the Australian government made on behalf of Gendun Choekyi Nyima, the eleventh Panchen Lama, the second-highest incarnation in Tibet, who, in 1995, was kidnapped at the age of six, along with his parents, by the Chinese authorities in Tibet and has not been seen since.

(2) What efforts has the Australian Government made to ascertain the whereabouts of the Panchen Lama and his family.

(3) Was this matter raised (a) in the most recent Australia-China Human Rights dialogue, (b) at any of the previous dialogues or (c) in any other representations on human rights that the Australian government has made to the Chinese Government.


Mr Downer (Foreign Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member's questions are as follows:

The Australian Embassy in Beijing raised the case of Gendun Choekyi Nyima with the relevant Chinese authorities on 10 October 1995. We have also raised his case in all three meetings of the human rights dialogue held so far. The Chinese have told us that the boy was not in detention, that he was living a normal life, and that his parents wanted to be left alone. In November 1999, they repeated these assurances to the visiting British Foreign Office Minister, John Battle.