The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) that proclaims May 17 as Tibet Solidarity Day called for the release of 11th Panchen Lama Gendhun Choekyi Nyima.
The day symbolises the international community's solidarity with the aspirations of the Tibetan people who yearn for freedom and continue to stand strong in the face of great adversity and also marks the day Panchen Lama disappeared suspiciously in 1995 at the age of six.
The CTA organised day-long activities at Tsuglakhang temple to observe the day, which was attended by hundreds of Tibetans, including monks, nuns and lay people.
The CTA officials said with self-immolations now numbering 117 since February 2009, and over a million of Tibetans who have perished as a result of Chinese occupation, Tibetans inside Tibet are sending a clear signal to the world rejecting China's policies in Tibet.
Meanwhile, the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) - the largest pro-independence group in-exile - and the Tibetan Women's Association (TWA) also staged a protest demonstration, demanding the release of the spiritual leader.
Nyima was allegedly abducted by China along with his parents and his spiritual guru soon after the boy was recognised by the Tibetan spiritual head, the Dalai Lama, as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama. The China instead recognised another boy Gyancin Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama.
"By hiding the real Panchen Lama, the Chinese government is making a devilish calculation about the future reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, but they must know that Tibetan people's faith can neither be bought by promise of money, nor silenced by fear,” said Tenzin Tsundue, education secretary of regional chapter of TYC.
He said on Friday after 18 years of the abduction, the whole Tibetan community in Tibet, in exile and millions of his followers around the world were demanding his release.
China on the other hand has never released any information about the abducted reincarnate lama and his family. “For the Tibetans, the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama are like the sun and the moon. They take turns to be the guiding light for the people of Tibet. We are sad that the Panchen Lama is missing from our life,” said Kalsang Youdon, president of TWA.