It's the roof of the world. A Shangri-la being ruled by terror and it's taken an Adelaide woman to turn the cameras on Tibet and shine a light on this Chinese occupied region. Not in a sanitised way as the ruling government would wish, but warts and all.
Local film maker Lara Damiani is making the "The Tibet Project," a fearless documentary that the Chinese Government doesn't want the world to see.
"Of course people speak about Tibet and some people know about Tibet because of the Dalai Lama, but I didn't think that enough people knew about the story behind the issue of Tibet. I was even told don't ask a taxi driver because if you get into a taxi driven by a Chinese, he's likely to be a Chinese spy and if you get into a taxi driven by a Tibetan he's likely to suffer consequences for driving you there. So it was difficult to talk to anyone. People couldn't talk openly," says Lara.
Despite the obvious danger in poking her lens in where it isn't wanted, Lara is determined to tell the full Tibetan story.
"These people who are incredibly warm and very peaceful and just unique wonderful people and we could sense as each day passed, we could sense the oppression and the inability for those people to talk freely," explained Lara.
Some were anxious to go before her camera and tell the world of the continuing struggle including the exiled Dalai Lama.
"The Dalai Lama is an incredible man. He has a level of wisdom that few people could understand, and he often talks about and refers to Chinese people in really positive terms," says Lara.
The Dalai Lama said in the documentary, "their record, the human rights and freedom, these are still not satisfactory so we need more effort to teach our Chinese brothers and sisters to remind them it is a poor record, so very bad image of Peoples Republic of China."
Other Tibetans forecast through the doco, dire consequences due to the Chinese destruction of the eco system in the region.
"The Chinese are in Tibet to stay and they are destroying not just Tibetan life and culture which will effect only 6 million Tibetans but they are destroying the fragile environment of Tibet to an extent where it will have global implications."
Exploitation of mineral resources have already left a huge footprint and having contaminated it's own major rivers through industrialization, China now threatens the ecological viability of river systems in Tibet through damming and changing natural flows in a bid to meet its thirst for water and energy.
"People are saying that the next great war may be fought over fresh water and not oil and Tibet is the source of all the major rivers of Asia," added Lara.
Despite having strong feelings on the Chinese occupation of Tibet, Lara is not against the Olympic Games being hosted by China. Even the Dalai Lama backed China's bid for the Olympic Games.
Lara wanted to be able to provide the Peoples Republic of China an opportunity to come forth and give their side of the story but they were not interested. She also wants Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in the film. So far her requests for an interview have failed.
"The people might have to suffer, but the in the end the truth will prevail. This is our belief, so on this belief we are continuing. We have the unshakeable faith that we are not wrong. Our issue is best on truth and justice. It's made me even more resolved to keep doing what I'm doing,"
If you'd like to know more about the documentary go to: www.thetibetproject.com
or call: 8232 1670 or 0411 628 895.
You can also write to:
The Tibet Project
PO Box 6004
Halifax Street SA 5000