Panchen Lama, the man “picked” by China as the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism, has been appointed to the country’s top government advisory body. “According to Chinese state media the 19-year-old Panchen Lama was named a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) on Sunday. He was among 13 people named to the CPCC ahead of a meeting of the body next week in Beijing, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The CPPCC, whose annual session begins on Wednesday, is made up of about 2,200 business leaders, religious figures, academics and celebrities. It serves in an advisory capacity to the National People’s Congress, China’s largely ceremonial legislature. The Panchen Lama, whose name is Gyaltsen Norbu, was appointed by Chinese authorities in 1995 over a boy chosen by the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader. Gyaltsen Norbu is emerging as Beijing’s choice to supplant the Dalai Lama as the public face of Tibetan Buddhism and has taken on an increasingly political role in recent years. He has made appearances with Communist Party leaders and publicly praised Chinese rule in Tibet.”
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