Located in the highest region of the world, as the birthplace of the exiled Dalai Lama, Tibet is regarded as a centre for Buddhist pilgrimage. The architecture in Tibet reflects a strong influence from India and China, although many monasteries suffered heavy damages in the 1960s during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. In 2005, the Qinghai–Tibet railway was completed, which has increased the flow of Chinese migrants to Tibet. The territory has been a source of much conflict over the last half century, with many indigenous people resisting the rule of the Chinese and proclaiming allegiance to the exiled Dalai Lama.
Tibetan culture is deeply influenced by Buddhism, and the Dalai Lama is revered as a reincarnated spiritual leader. In My Spiritual Autobiography,the Dalai Lama tells the story of his childhood and his becoming Tibet's political leader, elements which have deeply shaped his political and religious outlook.
Red Poppies by poet and novelist Alai is a family saga about Tibet's changing way of life during the 1940s. Stick Out Your Tongue by Han Chinese writer Ma Jian portrays the traditional culture of Tibet in a realist, sometimes critical, light. Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden also takes a realist approach to Tibet in films like The Search and Old Dog. Tseden's Tibet is not the mythologised land of monasteries and monks, but rather one of generational differences wherein the past is slowly eroded by modernity.