In order to erase the memories of popular Tibetan monk, Tulku Tenzin Delek, who died under mysterious circumstances in a Sichuan prison following what supporters called a wrongful conviction, the Chinese authorities are banning public discussion on him.

Sangyal Kunchok, writing for Radio Free Asia (RFA) said that Chinese authorities are removing the popular Tibetan monk from official religious histories and shutting down an online chat group devoted to his memory.

“Documenting the histories of these monasteries were ordered by the Chinese government, and the Tibetans who compiled these histories then distributed them among the public,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect his contacts in the region.

“Many Tibetans who read these books were disappointed to see that nothing was said in them about Tulku Tenzin Delek, and they began to hold discussions about this with each other on social media,” the source said, adding, “The Chinese government then ordered this chat group to shut down.”

Several members of the almost 500-member online group were later summoned for questioning by police, he said.

“Tulku Tenzin Delek played the main role in the revival of Kham Nalanda Thekchen Jangchub Choling monastery, but in the history of this monastery neither his name nor any of his activities connected with it are mentioned,” he said.

Tulku Tenzin Delek, 65, died under mysterious circumstances on July 12, 2015, 13 years into a 22-year sentence following what rights groups and supporters called a wrongful conviction on a charge of bombing a public square in Sichuan’s provincial capital Chengdu in April 2002.

He was initially sentenced to death, but his sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. He was widely respected among Tibetans for his efforts to protect Tibetan culture and the environment, said Sangyal.

An assistant, Lobsang Dondrub, was executed almost immediately, prompting an outcry from rights activists who questioned the fairness of the trial, reported RFA.

Monasteries in Nyagchu (in Chinese, Yajiang) county in Sichuan’s Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture have now been forced by Chinese authorities to remove references to Delek from histories of their establishments, according to a Tibetan source living in exile.

Formerly an independent nation, Tibet was invaded and incorporated into China by force 70 years ago.

Chinese authorities maintain a tight grip on Tibet and on Tibetan areas of western China, restricting Tibetans’ political activities and peaceful expression of cultural and religious identity, and subjecting Tibetans to persecution, torture, imprisonment, and extrajudicial killings, reported RFA. (ANI)