State Of Control

State of Control: "It's going to take the electronic equivalent of a plane flying into a building before people take this seriously."

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When two undercover filmmakers attempt to document life in Tibet under Chinese tyranny, they become the targets of the very regime they set out to investigate. Placed under 24-hour surveillance, and preyed on by cyber spies and the secret police, they accidentally become the subjects of their own exposé. But when their pursuers follow them home, they discover their experience is only the tip of the iceberg. A tense and eye-opening journey into a notorious media blackout.

"The spies are really dangerous", warns their first guide in Kathmandu. "They get information about us and give it to the police, then they come at night to pick us up." The consequences of being caught trying to draw attention to the barbarism of state control in this isolated part of the world are enough to ensure a diffident obedience prevails in the region. "I was made to stand in the snow from 9 at night to 9 in the morning", recounts Tibetan activist, Gyaltson Sondup. "Then they poured boiling water on my feet and all the skin came off."

As the American pair try to gain entry to one of the most closed-off areas of Tibet, they meet in secret with local human rights campaigners and exiled Buddhist monks, all of whom have suffered abuse at the hands of the authorities, and implore them to share their story with the 'outside world'. But a dangerous cat-and-mouse game unfolds, involving hotel break-ins, equipment theft, and unexplained disappearances, ultimately putting the project – and their lives – in jeopardy. "These are engineers", declares poet and protester, Tenzin Tsundue. "Engineers of one of the most efficiently controlled human communities in the world."

With their computers and mobiles hacked, and fearing for the safety of their guides, the filmmakers flee to the US. But upon their return they discover the extent of the espionage operation to be far greater than they could ever have imagined. Up against one of the most technologically sophisticated countries on the planet, what hope is there for organised resistance to Chinese oppression? "It's going to take the electronic equivalent of a plane flying into a building before people take this seriously."

Darren Mann – Ref. 6316

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