The 15-year-old youngster Gyaltsen Norbu, accompanied by Chinese Communist Party officials during his visit to Tibet, draped a white silk scarf over a statue of Buddha in Lhasa's Jokhang Temple.
Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, had selected another boy Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama in 1995. Chinese authorities ignored the choice and the boy disappeared shortly after his selection was announced.
Afterwards Beijing installed its own candidate as the Panchen Lama.
Chinese officials insist the displaced candidate is an ordinary school boy and is doing well in his studies.