Gyaincain Norbu

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Chökyi Gyalpo
确吉杰布 2022.jpg
Gyaincain Norbu in 2022
11th Panchen Lama (disputed)
Assumed office
8 December 1995
PRC interpretation, disputed by Gedhun Choekyi Nyima
Preceded byChoekyi Gyaltsen
Member of the 11th, 12th, 13th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
Assumed office
March 2008
ChairmanJia QinglinYu ZhengshengWang Yang
Personal details
Gyaincain Norbu

(1990-02-13) 13 February 1990 (age 33)
Lhari County, Nagqu, Tibet Autonomous Region, China
  • Sonam Drakpa (father)
  • Sangkyi Dolma (mother)

Chökyi Gyalpo, also referred to by his secular name Gyaincain Norbu or Gyaltsen Norbu (born 13 February 1990), is considered the 11th Panchen Lama by the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC). He is also the vice president of the Buddhist Association of China. Gyalpo is considered by some[1] to be a proxy of the Chinese government.

Gyalpo's position as Panchen Lama is disputed by the earlier recognition of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, by the 14th Dalai Lama. Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, along with his family and Chadrel Rinpoche, the then-incumbent Khenpo of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, were kidnapped and/or arrested then detained in a series of unknown locations by the Chinese government in the days following the Dalai Lama's official recognition of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. The exile government Central Tibetan Administration, do not recognize the Chinese government's selection using Golden Urn. Only some monks in Chinese-controlled Tibetan monasteries refer to the Chinese government's proxy selection as the Panchen Lama.[2]


Gyaincain Norbu
Tibetan name
Tibetan ཆོས་ཀྱི་རྒྱལ་པོ་
WylieChos-kyi Rgyal-po
Tibetan PinyinQögyi'gyäbo
Lhasa IPATibetan pronunciation: []
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese確吉傑布
Simplified Chinese确吉杰布
Standard Mandarin
Hanyu PinyinQuèjí Jiébù

Gyaincain Norbu's full religious name is Jêzün Lobsang Qamba Lhünzhub Qögyi'gyäbo Bäsangbo, although he is generally called Qoigyijabu (Tibetan: ཆོས་ཀྱི་རྒྱལ་པོ་་, Wylie: Chos-kyi Rgyal-po, ZYPY: Qögyi Gyäbo). Meaning "Dharma king", this name can also be written Qögyi'gyäbo, Qögyi Gyäbo, Qoigyi'gyaibo, Qoigyi Gyaibo, Chökyi Gyalpo, Choekyi Gyalpo, or, in Wylie transliteration, Chos-kyi Rgyal-po. The Chinese equivalent is Quèjí Jiébù (确吉杰布).

The secular name, Gyaincain Norbu (Tibetan: རྒྱལ་མཚན་ནོར་བུ་, Wylie: Rgyal-mtshan Nor-bu, ZYPY: Gyäncän Norbu), can also be written Gyaencaen Norbu, Gyancain Norbu, or Gyaltsen Norbu.


Gyaincain Norbu was born on 13 February 1990 in Lhari County in northern Tibet Autonomous Region.[3][4] He had been living in Beijing during his early childhood to be educated in a Chinese way, and travelled to Tashilhunpo Monastery for his enthronement in November/December 1995, in Shigatse, the official seat of the Panchen Lamas.[5] Since his selection by the Chinese government as a proxy Panchen Lama, he has studied Tibetan Buddhism,[6] to his studies he added Tibetan language, sutra, and logic at ten; he is bilingual in both Tibetan and Chinese.[7] He spent most of his later childhood studying Buddhism in Beijing.[6] In a rare appearance for his adolescent age, Norbu delivered a speech in Tibetan for the opening ceremony of the 2006 World Buddhist Forum about Buddhism and national unity.[8] Reportedly, it received a cold reception among delegates,[9] with fellow Buddhists making no attempt to greet Gyaltsen Norbu during greeting ceremonies ahead of the conference on Wednesday.[10] Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama had not been invited, because he is viewed by China as "a long-time stubborn secessionist who has tried to split his Chinese motherland and break the unity among different ethnic groups."[10]

Two years later, in 2008, he denounced anti-Han riots in Lhasa, saying "We resolutely oppose all activities to split the country and undermine ethnic unity".[11] China promotes him as "the public face of Tibetan Buddhism".[12]

On 3 February 2010, Norbu was elected vice president of the Buddhist Association of China.[13] Later that month, at 20 years old, Norbu became the youngest member[12] of the advisory body National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Vice chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region Hao Peng praised his appointment, in particular for Norbu's "demonstrating the role of the living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism and encouraging more believers to participate in state affairs".[14] He was not, however, made vice chairman of the CPPCC, as Choekyi Gyaltsen, 10th Panchen Lama was and was widely expected of Norbu. Still, the Tibetan government in exile expressed concern that his appointment could prejudice his position on the next Dalai Lama, who normally requires approval from the Panchen Lama.[12]

In May 2010, he reported to the ethnically Tibetan earthquake zone of the 2010 Yushu earthquake and held prayer services for victims.[15] In June, he gave speeches at Tibet University and Tibet University of Traditional Tibetan Medicine in Lhasa promoting the value of education.[6] In response to the 2010 Gansu mudslide, in which Zhugqu County, a third of which is populated by Tibetans, was hit, he donated ¥50,000 to relief efforts and prayed for the victims.[16] He pays visits to the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama, although he does not live there.[7] The Asia Times describes him as "A slight man who wears thick glasses and traditional crimson robes".[12]

In Hong Kong on 26 April 2012 Gyaincain gave his first appearance outside of mainland China to address over a thousand monks at the Third World Buddhist Forum on the topic of Dharma.[17]


Following the death of the Choekyi Gyaltsen, 10th Panchen Lama in 1989, both the Tibetan government in exile and the Chinese government started parallel processes in the six-year-long search for the 11th Panchen Lama.[2]

The head of the Chinese government's Panchen Lama search committee at the time, Chadrel Rinpoche, was able to secretly communicate with the Dalai Lama. He planned to submit the Dalai Lama's favored choice to the government. When the government learned of this,[18] they arrested Chadrel in May 1995.[19][20] The Dalai Lama moved to pre-empt China's choice, and proclaimed his own preferred candidate, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, as the 11th incarnation of the Panchen Lama. Four days later, Chinese security forces escorted him from his home in Lhari County, stating that he "was at risk of being kidnapped by Tibetan separatists".[19] China rejects Nyima as being "arbitrarily" chosen,[21] while the Tibetan government in exile similarly insists on its candidate's legitimacy.

Chadrel was replaced on the search committee by Sengchen Lobsang Gyaltsen.[22] The new committee decided to choose the Panchen Lama from a list of finalists by drawing lots from a Golden Urn. The Chinese custom of using the Golden Urn had been introduced in the year 1792 by the Qianlong Emperor and used to select the 10th, 11th, and 12th Dalai Lamas.[18] Four days before his death, the China Tibet Information Center reports, the 10th Panchen Lama requested that the Golden Urn process be used to select his successor.[23] According to Arjia Rinpoche, an important lama who attended the ceremony, Ye Xiaowen, the central government official in charge of the Panchen Lama issue, stated privately that the selection had been rigged in favor of Gyaincain Norbu.[24]

Six-year-old Gyaincain Norbu was selected on 8 December 1995[citation needed] with the religious name Qoigyijabu. Exiled Tibetan abbot Arjia Rinpoche, alleges that an official told him that the ceremony, which he attended, was rigged in favor of Norbu.[25] Gyaincain Norbu was enthroned at Tashilhunpo Monastery and has since assumed the full functions of Panchen Lama.[26] In attendance at the enthronement was the 8th Arjia Rinpoche, who in his book says, "We had to prostrate to the so-called Panchen Lama...we had neither the respect for nor faith in this chosen child... I felt soiled by this gesture."[24]

Diplomatic meetings[edit]

On 14 September 2010, the foreign minister of Singapore, George Yeo, became the first foreign member of government to meet officially with Gyaincain Norbu, at the Xihuang Monastery in Beijing.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "China says Panchen Lama 'living a normal life' 20 years after disappearance". The Guardian. London. 6 September 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2008.
  2. ^ a b Watts, Jonathan (8 September 2003). "Struggle over Tibet's 'soul boy'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 24 June 2008.
  3. ^ "Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu". People's Daily. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  4. ^ 'A Year In Tibet' Broadcast on BBC Four on Thursday, 6 March 2008 at 2100GMT
  5. ^ 西藏自治区主席向巴平措接受外国驻华记者采访 (in Chinese). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China. 27 August 2003. Archived from the original on 11 October 2003. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  6. ^ a b c "Panchen Lama urges students to hit the books". China Internet Information Center. Xinhua. 10 June 2010. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  7. ^ a b Kangzhol, Yexei. "11th Panchen Erdeni: A diligent student". China Tibet Information Center. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  8. ^ "Panchen Lama makes rare public appearance at Buddhist conference". Associated Press. 13 April 2006. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  9. ^ "China hosts first Buddhism forum". BBC News. 13 April 2006. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  10. ^ a b China hosts first Buddhism forum
  11. ^ Fairclough, Gordon (1 March 2010). "A New Role for Beijing's Panchen Lama". China Real Time Report. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  12. ^ a b c d Sehgal, Saransh (17 March 2010). "China's Panchen Lama enters political arena". Asia Times. Archived from the original on 22 March 2010. Retrieved 5 August 2010.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  13. ^ "Panchen now state body VP". Straits Times. Agence France-Presse. 3 February 2010. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  14. ^ "China gives Panchen Lama a political role". United Press International. 3 March 2010.
  15. ^ "China's Panchen Lama visits earthquake zone: state media". Agence France-Presse. 14 May 2010. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  16. ^ "Panchen Lama prays for mudslide victims". China Daily. 15 August 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
  17. ^ "Panchen Lama delivers first speech outside mainland". Xinhua News Agency. 26 April 2012. Archived from the original on 28 April 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  18. ^ a b Zhong, Zhang (29 December 1995). "Six-Year-Old Becomes The 11th Panchen Lama". China Tibet Information Center. Archived from the original on 15 July 2006. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
  19. ^ a b "panchen lama". frontline:dreams of tibet. TibetInfoNet news. 1 July 1996. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  20. ^ "Profile: Chadrel Rinpoche – the man who found the XI Panchen Lama".
  21. ^ Sehgal, Saransh (11 July 2010). "The Panchen Lama Mystery". The Diplomat. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  22. ^ "Sengchen, 62, Tibetan Buddhist Cleric". The New York Times. 24 October 1998. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  23. ^ "The passing away and last words of the tenth Panchen Lama". The 11th Panchen. China Tibet information center. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  24. ^ a b Arjia Rinpoche (2010). Surviving the Dragon: A Tibetan Lama's Account of 40 Years Under Chinese Rule. New York: Rodale Books. p. 207. ISBN 978-1-60529-754-5. ...When we made our selection we left nothing to chance. In the silk pouches of the ivory pieces we put a bit of cotton at the bottom of one of them, so it would be a little higher than the others and the right candidate would be chosen.
  25. ^ Wong, Edward (1 July 2010). "China Asserts Role in Choosing Dalai Lama". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  26. ^ "Installation of the Eleventh Panchen Lama". The 11th Panchen. China Tibet Information Center. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  27. ^ Wong Yee Fong. "Foreign Minister George Yeo meets 11th Panchen Lama",, Singapore, 14 September 2010. Retrieved 21 September 2010.

External links[edit]

Buddhist titles
Preceded by Reincarnation of the Panchen Lama