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28 may 2012 003Vienna: - Tibetans and Europeans jointly turned out in a massive rally for the Tibet movement where His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Kalon Tripa (political leader) Lobsang Sangay, local and European politicians, and friends of Tibet joined in Austrian capital Vienna's Heldenplatz Square. Around 10,000 people are said to have attended the rally.

The main aim of the rally was to urge member states of the European Union to organize high-level political discourse between the EU and China regarding greater autonomy for Tibet, the formation of an EU delegation to visit Tibetan areas and even appoint a European Union Special Coordinator for issues that deal with Tibet.

His Holiness addressed the gathering on various issues that surround Tibet. He said, "Our culture is under threat of destruction, therefore I want to take this opportunity to speak my own language. Archaeological findings indicate that Tibetan history dates back 3,000 to 4,000 years. We Tibetans must not forget our identity, for our blood, flesh and bones come from Tibet. Since the seventh century we have employed the Tibetan written language in which the most complete and thorough translations have been made of Buddhist knowledge from the original Sanskrit. This is a treasure for the world, not only for Tibetans. And when we talk about preserving Tibetan Buddhist culture, I don't mean just paying respects before a Buddhist image, but putting the teachings into practice and trying to live as good human beings."

He talked about the urgent need to protect the Tibetan environment which, because it is the source of many of the rivers that run through Asia, is of value not only to Tibetans but millions of others too. He expressed the fear that once environmental damage has taken place it will take a great deal of time to recover. He distinguished Buddhist religion, which is the business of Buddhist practitioners, from Buddhist culture, which, as a culture of peace, honesty and compassion, is worth preserving for the good of the world. He added that millions of Chinese are already showing interest in Tibetan Buddhist culture. His Holiness stressed that the damage and destruction of that culture has not taken place because Tibetans are not interested, but because of the difficult political circumstances in which they find themselves.

"Because of our Buddhist culture we are committed to the principle of non-violence. We are an example of a small community who have remained dedicated to pursuing our struggle through non-violent means, which is why your support is so extremely valuable and I want to tell you how much I appreciate it."

The other speakers at the rally included Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay, Bernard Kouchner (Former French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs and co-founder of Médecins sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders), Yeshi Dolma (ex-political prisoner), Madeleine Petrovic (Green Party Austria), Eva Lichtenberger (Member of the European Parliament), Matteo Macecci (Tibet Intergroup, Italian Parliament), Francesca von Habsburg (long-time Tibet supporter)and Bianca Jagger (international Human Rights advocate).

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