Agya Rinpoche, abbot of Kumbum Monastery in Qinghai province, was also a
vice-president of the Buddhist Association of China and deputy chairman of
the Qinghai People's Political Consultative Conference. Regarded by the
Chinese authorities as a "patriotic" figure, he had been given a degree of
freedom to promote Tibetan culture and language. However, in 1998, he went
abroad on official business and failed to return. It was reported that he
would seek political asylum in the United States.
His full name is Ajia Lousang Tubten Juimai Gyatso.
Note: He has been granted political asylum in the United States.