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Tuesday, 30 October, 2001, 08:05 GMT
China says arrested Panchen lama well

Chinese officials say a boy arrested six years ago after Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, chose him to succeed a senior Buddhist monk, is safe and well.

The boy, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, is now 12-years old.

He was taken into custody by the Chinese authorities after the Dalai Lama confirmed him as the next reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, Tibet's second highest ranking religious official.

Chinese officials said that Nyima was leading "a normal life" and that his parents did not want anyone to disrupt his studies.

Human rights officials have described Nyima as the world's youngest political prisoner.

Beijing has recognised another boy, Gyaincain Norbu, as the Panchen Lama.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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