China Says Tibetan Lama Too Young to Enter Legislature

Chinese officials say a Tibetan youth named by China as the 11th Panchen Lama is too young to become a deputy in the National People's Congress.

Gyaltsen Norbu was picked as the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama.

NPC Spokesman Jiang Enzhu says the youth, who turned 18 last month, was not old enough at the time the list of deputies was drawn up.

The National People's Congress begins its annual legislative session on Wednesday.

Tibetans regard Beijing's choice of the Panchen Lama as a sham. The Dalai Lama's choice, Gendun Choekyi Nyima, disappeared from public view in 1995, when he was only six years old.