Tibetan Buddhists believe in reincarnation. When the second most important Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Panchen Lama, died in suspicious circumstances in 1989 (some believe he may have been poisoned by the Chinese government) it was only a matter of time before he would be reincarnated.
On 14 May 1995 the head of the Tibetan Buddhist faith, the Dalai Lama, announced that he had been identified - the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama was six-year-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the son of a doctor and a nurse from the Tibetan town of Naqchu. The Chinese authorities had been hoping that the Panchen Lama would be identified without the involvement of the Dalai Lama, who had left Tibet in 1959 and set up a Tibetan government in exile in northern India. So they removed Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family from the scene, and arranged for some compliant Buddhist leaders to select another boy as a puppet Panchen Lama.