Dalai Lama visits Vienna

The Dalai Lama began an eleven-day visit to Austria on Saturday 26th May, beginning in Vienna, where he was met by crowds of over 10,000.

The 76-year-old spiritual leader of Tibet addressed devotees at Heldenplatz, at the heart of the Austrian capital.

Our culture is under threat of destruction, the exiled leader declared.

Archaeological findings indicate that Tibetan history dates back 3-4000 years We Tibetans must not forget our identity, for our blood, flesh and bones come from Tibet, he continued.

The Chinese government had objected to the Dalai Lama's visit, but the Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann ignored the warning.

"I answer the question of whom I meet myself, and that goes for the Dalai Lama," he said.

Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama himself told an anecdote about his personal encounters with the late Chinese communist leader Chairman Mao Zedong.

I see how many of you are waving the Tibetan flag, the Tibetan leader said.

Chinese hard-liners often refer to our flag as a symbol of splittist tendencies, but I want to tell you that when I was in China 1954-55, I met Chairman Mao Zedong and other leaders on several occasions. Once, Chairman Mao asked me, 'Do you have a flag?' I hesitantly answered, 'Yes,' and his reply was to say, 'Good, it is important that you keep this flag and fly it next to the red flag of China. So I feel I received permission then to fly this flag from Chairman Mao himself.


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