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Young living Buddha grows up amid intense expectations


08:24, March 06, 2012

BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Although this is his third time to attend China's most important political event, the 11th Panchen Lama still draws attention from his fellow political advisors.

On Monday afternoon, neatly clad in a saffron monk robe, the 22-year-old Tibetan monk joined other members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in a panel discussion on the government work report, which was delivered by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in the morning, as well as budget reports.

The 10-day annual session of the CPPCC National Committee opened here on Saturday.

During the two-and-a-half-hour discussion, he carefully read the reports and occasionally took notes.

"He took it very seriously, underlined all contents related to religion," said Tang Chengqing, a political advisor who sat next to him at the meeting.

Although a young man, the 11th Panchen Lama is one of the two most senior living Buddhas in Tibet and has been a member of the CPPCC National Committee, China's top political advisory body, since 2010.

"He seemed a bit boyish when first attending the session," said Fang Xingyao, a fellow political advisor. "Over the past two years he has grown up a lot to become a young man with good manners and modesty."

A staff member who has worked with him for three years, but prefers to remain anonymous, shared Fang's feelings.

"These years he has not only grew taller but also developed into a more composed personality," she said.

Li Xin, an assistant serving water and tea at the session, found the 11th Panchen Lama a bit different from what she expected.

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