The 11th Panchen Lama Gyaincain Norbu, currently the highest ranking figure of Tibetan Buddhism in China, on Friday visited two space science research institutes in Beijing.
At the Chinese Research Institute of Space Technology, the bespectacled 17-year-old, wearing a Tibetan Buddhist robe, walked through the research facilities and listened to briefings on China's aerospace science development.
The institute is responsible for developing spacecraft and satellites for remote sensing, telecommunications, meteorology, earth resources and navigation.
He later visited the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center and met with China's first astronaut Yang Liwei.
The young Panchen Lama said he had always had a keen interest in aerospace science and felt enormously proud at the thought of China's manned spacecraft roaming around in outer space.
He said he would, as a religious figure, remain concerned about the country's development and make greater efforts in scientific studies in order to contribute to the development of the motherland.
Gyaincain Norbu was born on Feb. 13, 1990 in Lhari County of Nagqu Prefecture in northern Tibet. In November 1995, he was approved by the central government as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama, who died in 1989, after a lot drawing ceremony among the three candidates in the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa.
(Xinhua News Agency April 28, 2007)