The 1950's was a turbulent time in Tibet. In October 1950 the Chinese Red Army invaded and annexed Eastern Tibet, with the declared intent of capturing the whole of the country. An uneasy truce was called, formalised in the 17 point plan of 1951, whereby the Chinese undertook, amongst other things, to leave the Dalai Lama in charge of the country, while the Tibetans granted certain concessions to the Chinese government.
Throughout the decade Chinese troops remained in Tibet, between 20,000 to 40,000 of them, and Tibetans became increasingly angry about this occupation (or liberation as the Chinese saw it) by stealth.
As conditions became more stringent, so Tibetan resistance grew, culminating in the uprising of 1959 and the flight of the Dalai Lama to exile in India, where he still remains.
Sacred Mountain has Tibetan refugees in Kathmandu and there is evidence that many fled Eastern Tibet before and in 1953. During this period they mostly fled to Sikkim, a state in Northern India, that was closer geographically, but as the decade went on and the situation worsened, Kathmandu, and specifically the Boudhanath shrine, became the centre of a large Tibetan exile community that still exists today.
During 1950 the Tibetans had appealed to the Indian and British Governments for assistance against the Chinese, as well as to the UN. They received no support but this does support the premise of the story in Sacred Mountain that the Tibetan Government were looking outwards during these early years in its efforts to free itself.