Biography of Saloth Sar (Pol Pot) [1925-1998] From Chinese Sources

Saloth Sar (Pol Pot) [1925-1998]

On May 19th,1925, Pol Pot was born into a wealthy peasant family which lived 130 kilometres north of capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. In 1949, due to his good academic record, he won a scholarship to study in Paris, France. While studying in Paris, he encountered the ideology of Marxist-Leninism and became a firmly committed Communist. 

After four years of diligent study in France, Pol Pot returned to Cambodia in 1953. From 1963, Pol Pot served as the General Secretary of the Cambodian Communist Party and led the military-leader of Khmer Rouge during its offensive in north-eastern Cambodia. In 1970, Lon Nol launched a coup d’état under the instigation of the (capitalist) United States asa means to overthrow the Royal Government led by Sihanouk. 

On April 17th 1975, Pol Pot successfully led the Khmer Rouge to a military victory that overthrew the Lon Nol military (dictatorship) government. On January 5th, 1976, after promulgating a new Socialist Constitution – and changing the country’s name to ‘Democratic Kampuchea’ – it was also announced that the constitutional monarchy would be abolished. In April of the same year, Prince Sihanouk resigned as the Head of State and retired, and then the 1st People’s Congress was held. Qiao Samphan was voted to the Chairman of the Presidency and Pol Pot was elected as Prime Minister. 

When Pol Pot visited Beijing in September 1977, he suddenly disclosed to the outside world that his 17-year-old party was called the Communist Party of Cambodia (previously known as the Khmer Labour Party), and that is was guided by Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. 

Mao Zedong and Saloth Sar (Pol Pot) c. 1975

During the Khmer Rouge rule, the architecture and structure of the city was considered physically and psychologically ‘ugly’ and a symbol of capitalism corruption, which could pollute the minds (and opinions) of the Cadres and the masses. To build an ideal outer society, cities designed and built upon bourgeois principles must be abolished. Zhou Enlai said to Pol Pot at this time: 

‘You moved 3 million people from Phnom Penh to the countryside. Many people in the world do not understand it. Yes. As Socialist we must still make use of capitalist industry and commerce, albeit in a manner that empowers the workers… When considering economic construction, we must consider fiscal, financial, and commercial policies, otherwise it will be very difficult if the blood flow of society is not connected. After the liberation of the country, we have to emphasis education and conduct scientific research…” 

When Pol Pot (and others) cleaned the city, they only left the Party, Government, and Military Departments stationed there with a few factories (mainly serving the needs of government agencies). The Khmer Rouge announced that it would modernize the country within the next ten to fifteen years and turn Cambodia into an agricultural society, it set out to promote the cooperative system originally practiced in the liberated areas. The currency and the market were abolished, and replaced by distribution on demand, and a system of universal supply. Men, women and children work collectively and eat together in public cafeterias. Food and medical care were provided free of charge, and each person was given a set of new clothes every year (1 set of underwear and 1 set of outer wear). Foreign trade and conventional money were abolished. The Khmer Rouge abolished the ownership of private property, the old clan associations were also abolished, marriages arranged by organizations, with couples living separately after marriage. Established religion is abolished, and Buddhist monks are ordered to return to the secular life. Bourgeois knowledge is considered a counter-Revolutionary crime, with all reactionary schools, books and printed materials being prohibited. New ‘Proletariat’ schools were then opened to educate the young. Movement is regulated to prevent the infiltration and mobility of spies (this included the CIA, the KGB, Vietnamese and Taiwanese Intelligence Agencies). There were no postal and telecommunications services and no hospitals in the country. (Cambodia is a very poor country, and even before the Khmer Rouge, these things hardly existed). This things would have to be built from scratch.  

In 1977, the Khmer Rouge announced the ‘Super Great Leap Forward’. In the absence of ore resources, Pol Pot proposed to create self-sufficiency in iron and steel production, and was planning to build factories and develop production processes.  

On December 25th, 1978, Vietnam launched a war against its neighbouring Democratic Kampuchea. 

Khmer Rouge

After the liberation of Southern Vietnam in May 1975, and the reunification of North and South Vietnam in July 1976, the Le Duan Group’s regional hegemonic ambitions increased sharply. On June 4th, 1975, the Vietnamese Army forcibly occupied Cambodian territory. Since 1977, there had been conflicts on the border between Vietnam and Cambodia. In September and December of the same year, the Vietnamese Army invaded Cambodia twice. In June 1978, Vietnam joined the Economic Exchange. In early November, 1978, the “Vietnam-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation” was signed. The Soviet Union’s military assistance to Vietnam had already rapidly increased. 

On December 25th , 1978, the Vietnamese dispatched more than 10 military Divisions, comprising more than 200,000 regular troops, as a full-scale armed invasion of Democratic Kampuchea. On January 7th, 1979, they occupied Phnom Penh and joined with the Pro-Vietnamese faction headed by Han Sanglin. As the Vietnamese military occupied nearly all of Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge retreated jungles of the northeast with the intention of fighting a protracted war under Pol Pot’s leadership.  

Vietnam’s aggressive actions were strongly condemned by the international community, especially the ASEAN countries. Since 1979, the United Nations General Assembly has passed resolutions every year, demanding that Vietnam unconditionally withdraw its troops from Cambodia and restore Cambodia’s peaceful, neutral, and non-aligned status. The Cambodian people rose up to resist. In August 1979, the Cambodian Patriotic, Democratic and National Unity Front was established. In October 1979, the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front led by Song Shuang was established. In March 1981, the National Unity Front for Cambodia’s independence, neutrality, peace and cooperation was established under the leadership of Prince Sihanouk.  On June 22th,1982, the tripartite patriotic forces formed the Cambodian Coalition Government, which was widely recognized and supported by the international community. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s plan to occupy Cambodia quickly went bankrupt. 

Vietnam withdrew its troops from Cambodia in September 1989. On October 23th, 1991, the four parties to the Cambodian conflict signed the “Paris Peace Agreement” in Paris. Cambodia will realize national reconciliation and conduct general elections under the supervision of the United Nations. However, the Khmer Rouge, an important political faction in Cambodia, refused to cooperate with the United Nations and boycotted the general election, thus ruining a historic opportunity for a legitimate return to Cambodian politics. The Khmer Rouge lost its domestic allies and international support and fell into complete isolation. Under the military pressure and political offensive of the government, the Khmer Rouge appeared to be in chaos, with a number of officers and soldiers deserting due to war-weariness and homesickness. In this regard, the Khmer Rouge could not adjust their policy from the harshness of war to the softness of cooperation in peacetime. Pol Pot preferred victory through military struggles, and steadfastly insisted upon anti-American practices. He opposed any type of free market economy and any form of private property. Dissidents were eliminated to protect and strengthen his position. Occasionally, this led to a weakening of the over-all leadership, but all this depends upon where you ideologically stand. Even today, many admire Pol Pot as a true ‘Marxist-Leninist’ Revolutionary who would not compromise. After the Khmer Rouge refused the UN of ‘normalisation’ within a bourgeois election structure, action was taken both inside of and outside of Cambodia to ‘blacken’ the name of this movement. However, as capitalist reform took control of Cambodia, abject poverty spread and people were ‘weakened’ by this proces. In August 1996, the No. 2  leader of the Khmer Rouge – known as ‘Insat’ – led two Divisions to surrender to the government forces. By May 1997, the Khmer Rouge had lost nearly 80% of its combat troops, with the organisation falling a part. 

In June 1997 People’s Democratic Kampuchea (PDK) National Army Commander – Song – conspired to surrender, Pol Pot had Song arrested and tried. He was found ‘Guilty’, condemned to ‘Death’ for ‘Treason’ and executed by firing-squad. Following this incident, members of the Khmer Rouge ‘rebelled’ and took Pol Pot prisoner. He was tried in public, found ‘Guilty’ of various crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment. At his trial it was alleged that Pol Pot had Song, his wife and their eight children shot, but he denied this. His subordinates made other allegations of ‘mass murder’ (accusing the Khmer Rouge of killing around 3 million people), apparently copying the current US allegations, but again Pol Pot denied the accusation. He asked for them to provide ‘objective’ evidence which they could not, at first, but then one of the accusers said that the bone museums hold the evidence!  Pol Pot replied that the Americans built those places and that half the bones in them are not even Cambodian but were imported from various combat zones by the US advisers! Pol Pot said that from 1975-1977, about 3,000 people died, as well as another 11,000 who were Vietnamese spies. The Americans killed more on average with each of their bombing raids! With Pol Pot deposed and under house arrest, the heart and soul of the Khmer Rouge was destroyed!  

At 11:15 PM on the night of April 15th,1998, Pol Pot – the former leader of the Khmer Rouge – died of a heart attack in a cabin near Anlong, Cambodia. In late April – Anlong Veng – the last Khmer Rouge stronghold, fell. Tamo (and others) led hundreds of Khmer Rouge soldiers into the jungle along the Cambodia-Thailand border.  

After Pol Pot’s death, the remaining Khmer Rouge leaders stepped out of the jungle, forming another wave of surrender. Finally, on December 5th, 1998, Kennon and eight other Generals led thousands more Khmer Rouge soldiers to surrenders. This included the return of former Democratic Cambodian Chairman Qiao Samphan and former Chairman of the National People’s Congress Nong Xie – and the Khmer Rouge entered the history books… 

On March 6th, 1999, Tamo was captured by the Cambodian military near the Thai-Cambodian border, marking the complete collapse of the “Khmer Rouge” regime. On February 18th, 2009, the Special Tribunal of the Cambodian Court jointly established by the United Nations and Cambodia opened the trial of the “Khmer Rouge” regime and its main leaders. This was a one-sided bias affair designed by the capitalist world to cement the myth of massacres and genocides (as if the Khmer Rouge were exactly the same as Nazi Germany, and Pol Pot identical with Adolf Hitler). This is a typical attempt by the West to attack Socialism that must be strongly resisted and confronted with genuine facts, figures and reliable eye-witness accounts. For instance, the US has never stood trial for its War Crimes in Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia.  

Chinese Language Source波尔布特

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