The stereotypical setting of Shamgri-La and the subject of a popular political cause. For centuries, Tibet was a Buddhist theocracy ruled by a fellow known as the Dalai Lama, whom the Tibetans believed to be the Reincarnation of the original Dalai Lama. From the era of Kublai Khan until the fall of the Qing Dynasty, Tibet was under some level of control by Imperial China. Disagreements over how much control tend to center around what political ax the speaker wants to grind. In any case, the chaos of the Xinhai Revolution allowed Tibet to slip out of Chinese control and achieve de facto independence in 1912. In 1950, Tenzin Gyatso became the current (and possibly last) Dalai Lama. That same year, Mao Zedong decided Tibet needed to be "liberated" from "imperialist forces", even though it was essentially independent and that's sort of the opposite of imperialism. Operating on flawless commie logic, China proceeded to use imperialism to save Tibet from imaginary imperialism. For most of the 1950s, the Dalai Lama cooperated with China's new communist rulers, but he fled Tibet during a 1959 rebellion against Chinese rule. He arrived in India, where he established a Government in Exile and is based to this day. The Dalai Lama has since become an international celebrity and met with various world leaders. For the first twenty years of his exile, the Dalai Lama argued in favor of Tibetan independence, but he has since moderated his position to favoring greater Tibetan autonomy within China. There is considerable debate whether there will be another Dalai Lama after the current one dies. He claims that he will not reincarnate in Tibet unless it is free. The Chinese government claims that it has the authority to select the next Dalai Lama since obviously communist officials are super good at detecting Buddhist reincarnations.
Views on Tibet
Tibet in popular culture
This is the former flag of Tibet and is now a symbol of the Tibetan independence movement. It's Banned in China.