In Beijing, state television showed Gyaltsen Norbu touching the heads of people lining the streets of Shigatse Saturday. It said the 15-year-old boy will stay in Tibet's second-largest city for religious studies for an indefinite period of time.
The Chinese government appointed him in 1995, although he is not recognized as the Panchen Lama by most Tibetans.
Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, named Gendun Choekyi Nyima as Panchen Lama. He and his family have not been seen since they were detained by Chinese authorities in 1995.