The Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama has called on Tibetan Buddhists to support China during a rare public appearance.
China's official news agency Xinhua Wednesday quoted 16-year-old Gyaltsen Norbu as saying Tibetan Buddhists enjoy religious freedom, and they should be devoted to both China and Buddhism.
Norbu's comments were made during a visit to temples in southwestern Yunnan province, which is home to more than 128-thousand ethnic Tibetans.
Beijing installed Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama in 1995, rejecting another boy recognized by the exiled Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader. That boy has not been seen in public since then.
The Panchen Lama is the second-ranking figure in Tibetan Buddhism, after the Dalai Lama.
Some information for this report was provided by Xinhua and AP .