Miami, FL — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA), Cochair and Chair, respectively, of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), issued a statement on the 25th anniversary of the 11th Panchen Lama's disappearance:
"Twenty-five years ago, Gedun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama, was abducted with his parents and forcibly disappeared. Since then, they have not been seen nor heard from by anyone outside of China and they are among the world’s longest detained prisoners of conscience. We call for their immediate and unconditional release and remain deeply concerned about official restrictions on the practice of Tibetan Buddhism including control over the process of reincarnation, the demolition of buildings and expulsion of religious practitioners from Larung Gar and Yachen Gar, and the implementation of Tibet’s new “ethnic unity” regulations. These policies are part of a systematic effort by Chinese authorities to eliminate the distinct religious, linguistic, and cultural identity of the Tibetan people.
We call on the Chinese government to uphold its international commitments to protect the rights of ethnic minorities and call on the Administration to use the tools provided by the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act (P.L. 115-330), and those included in the Tibetan Policy and Support Act (H.R. 4331/S.2538), to support the human rights and religious freedom of the Tibetan people."
Rubio is the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations’ Subcommittee that oversees human rights, and is a member of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.