Beijing: The Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama, the second highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism, has won broad praise since taking up the position two decades ago in what was a great victory against separatists, a top official was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
Controversy surrounds the position of the Panchen Lama since the boy exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama named as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama disappeared when he was six.
China`s Communist Party has long maintained the Dalai Lama`s choice, Gendun Choekyi Nyima, now 26, is not the real Panchen Lama, and in 1995, the government selected Gyaltsen Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama. He is spurned by many Tibetans as a fake.
At a ceremony in Tibet`s Shigatse, the Panchen Lama`s traditional seat, to mark 20 years since China`s choice of Panchen Lama was appointed, a senior Chinese official said the Panchen Lama had been chosen completely in line with religious rules.
"This successful example of locating and recognising the reincarnation of a living Buddha is an important event in the Tibetan Buddhist world," Sithar, a deputy minister of the United Front Work Department, which is in charge of co-opting minorities and religious groups, was cited by the official Tibet Daily as saying.