Vietnamese Cambodians

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Vietnamese Cambodians
Vietnamese boat dwellers in Siem Reap
Total population
15,000 (est.)
0.1% of the Cambodian population (2013)
Regions with significant populations
Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, South-East Cambodia
Vietnamese and Khmer
Mahayana Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism, Cao Dai, Roman Catholicism
Related ethnic groups
Overseas Vietnamese

Vietnamese Cambodians refer to ethnic Vietnamese living in Cambodia. According to the news said in 2013 there are 15,000 Vietnamese people living in Cambodia. [1] They mostly reside in southeastern parts of Cambodia bordering Vietnam or on boathouses in the Tonlé Sap lake and Mekong rivers. The first Vietnamese came to settle modern-day Cambodia from the early 19th century during the era of the Nguyễn lords, and most of the Vietnamese came to Cambodia during the periods of French colonial administration and the People's Republic of Kampuchea administration. During the Khmer Republic and Khmer Rouge governments in the 1970s, the Vietnamese were targets of mass genocides; thousands of Vietnamese were killed and many more sought refuge in Vietnam. Ethnic relations between the Khmers and Vietnamese are poor, and the Vietnamese have been the main target of xenophobic attacks by political parties since the 1990s. Most of the Vietnamese are stateless residents of Cambodia, and as a result they face difficulties in getting access to education, employment and housing.

Vietnamese people ethnic group

The Vietnamese people or the Kinh people, are an ethnic group originating from present-day northern Vietnam. They are the majority ethnic group of Vietnam, comprising 86% of the population at the 1999 census, and are officially known as Kinh to distinguish them from other ethnic groups in Vietnam. The earliest recorded name for the ancient Vietnamese people appears as Lạc.

Cambodia Southeast Asian sovereign state

Cambodia, officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is 181,035 square kilometres in area, bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest.

Boathouse building for storage of boats

A boathouse is a building especially designed for the storage of boats, normally smaller craft for sports or leisure use. These are typically located on open water, such as on a river. Often the boats stored are rowing boats. Other boats such as punts or small motor boats may also be stored.



Vietnamese settlers began to settle in modern-day Cochinchina and Ho Chi Minh City from the 1620s onwards. To the Cambodians, these lands were known as Kampuchea Krom and traditionally under the control of the Khmer Empire. From the era of Chey Chettha II onwards, they came under the control of the Nguyễn lords. [2] In 1813, Emperor Gia Long sent 10,000 Vietnamese troops into Phnom Penh and some members of the Cambodian royal family came under the control of the Vietnamese court. [3] The Nguyen court imposed Vietnamese customs upon the Cambodian populace, and names of towns and provinces were changed to Vietnamese ones. Vietnamese settlers were encouraged to settle in Cambodia and official documents from the Vietnamese court recorded an average of 5,000 Vietnamese settlers coming into Cambodia in the 1830s. [4] The policies imposed by the Nguyen court stirred resentment among the Cambodian populace and provoked occasional rebellions. [5]

Cochinchina former country

Cochinchina is a region encompassing the southern third of current Vietnam whose principal city is Saigon. It was a French colony from 1862 to 1954. The later state of South Vietnam was created in 1954 by combining Cochinchina with southern Annam. In Vietnamese, the region is called Nam Bộ. Historically, it was Gia Định (1779–1832), Nam Kỳ (1834–1945), Nam Bộ (1945–48), Nam phần (1948–56), Nam Việt (1956–75), and later Miền Nam. In French, it was called la colonie de Cochinchine.

Ho Chi Minh City Municipality in Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City, also known by its former name of Saigon, is the most populous city in Vietnam with a population of 8.4 million as of 2017. Located in southeast Vietnam, the metropolis surrounds the Saigon River and covers about 2,061 square kilometres.

Khmer Empire Empire extending over large parts of Southeast Asia

The Khmer Empire, officially the Angkor Empire, the predecessor state to modern Cambodia, was a Hindu-Buddhist empire in Southeast Asia. The empire, which grew out of the former kingdoms of Funan and Chenla, at times ruled over and/or vassalised most of mainland Southeast Asia and parts of Southern China, stretching from the tip of the Indochinese Peninsula northward to modern Yunnan province, China, and from Vietnam westward to Myanmar.

In 1880, the French colonial administration to provide subject status to Vietnamese residents in Cambodia. Over the next fifty years, large numbers of Vietnamese migrated to Cambodia. [6] Population censuses conducted by the French recorded an increase in the Vietnamese population from about 4,500 in the 1860s to almost 200,000 at the end of the 1930s. [7] When the Japanese invaded Indochina in 1940, Vietnamese nationalists in Cambodia launched a brief but unsuccessful attempt to attack the French colonial administrators. [8] In 1954, a citizenship law was passed on the basis of knowledge in the Khmer language and national origin, and effectively excluded most Vietnamese and Chinese Cambodians. [9] At the grassroots level, Vietnamese also faced occasional cases of violent intimidation from the Cambodians. During a Sangkum congress in 1962, politicians debated on the issue of citizenship on Cambodia's ethnic minorities and a resolution was passed not to grant naturalization of Vietnamese residents. [10]

French Protectorate of Cambodia Aspect of Cambodian history

The French Protectorate of Cambodia refers to the Kingdom of Cambodia when it was a French protectorate within French Indochina — a collection of Southeast Asian protectorates within the French Colonial Empire. The protectorate was established in 1867 when the Cambodian King Norodom requested the establishment of a French protectorate over his country, meanwhile Siam renounced suzerainty over Cambodia and officially recognised the French protectorate on Cambodia. Cambodia was integrated into the French Indochina union in 1887 along with the French colonies and protectorates in Vietnam. In 1946, Cambodia was granted self-rule within the French Union and had its protectorate status abolished in 1949. Cambodia later gained its independence and the independence day was celebrated on 9 November 1953.

Citizenship is the status of a person recognized under the custom or law as being a legal member of a sovereign state or belonging to a nation.

Japanese invasion of French Indochina battle

The Japanese invasion of French Indochina was a short undeclared military confrontation between the Empire of Japan and the French State in northern French Indochina. Fighting lasted from 22 to 26 September 1940, simultaneous with the Battle of South Guangxi in the Sino-Japanese War.

When Lon Nol assumed power in 1970, the Khmer Republic government launched a propaganda campaign to portray the ethnic Vietnamese as agents of the Vietcong. About 30,000 Vietnamese were arrested and killed in prison, while an additional 200,000 were repatriated to Vietnam. Five years later in 1975, some 200,000 to 250,000 Vietnamese remained in Cambodia when the Khmer Rouge seized power. About three quarters of them were expelled to Vietnam, and the remaining 20,000 who remained are those who are of mixed-Vietnamese and Khmer descent. Those who remained were killed by the regime. [11] By the time Vietnamese troops entered Cambodia in 1979, virtually all of Cambodia's Vietnamese population were either displaced or killed. [12] Vietnam established a new regime known as the People's Republic of Kampuchea (PRK), and Vietnamese advisers were appointed in the new government administration. In 1983, the PRK government formulated an official policy to encourage former Vietnamese residents of Cambodia to return and settle down. Vietnamese immigrants who had no family ties to Cambodia also came to settle in the country, as there was little border control to limit Vietnamese migrants from entering the country. [13] The Vietnamese were recognised as an official minority under the PRK regime, and Overseas Vietnamese Associations were established in parts of Cambodia with sizeable Vietnamese populations. [14] The PRK government also identity cards were issued to them until the withdrawal of Vietnamese troops in 1990. [15]

Lon Nol Cambodian Field Marshal

Marshal Lon Nol was a Cambodian politician and general who served as Prime Minister twice, as well as serving repeatedly as Defense Minister. He led the military coup of 1970 against Prince Norodom Sihanouk and became the self-proclaimed President of the U.S.-backed Khmer Republic, ruling until 1975. He was the founder and leader of the short-lived Social Republican Party, and commander-in-chief of the Khmer National Armed Forces. After the Khmer Rouge took power, Lon Nol fled to the United States, and remained there until his death in 1985.

The Cambodian coup of 1970 refers to the removal of the Cambodian Head of State, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, after a vote in the National Assembly on 18 March 1970. Emergency powers were subsequently invoked by the Prime Minister Lon Nol, who became effective head of state, and led ultimately to the proclamation of the Khmer Republic later that year. It is generally seen as a turning point in the Cambodian Civil War. No longer a monarchy, Cambodia was semi-officially called "État du Cambodge" in the intervening six months after the coup, until the republic was proclaimed.

Khmer Republic former country

The Khmer Republic was the pro–United States military-led republican government of Cambodia that was formally declared on 9 October 1970. Politically, the Khmer Republic was headed by General Lon Nol and Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak that took power in the 18 March 1970 coup against Prince Norodom Sihanouk, then the country's head of state.

Vietnamese migrant workers started to arrive from 1992 onwards due to the creation of new job opportunities by the UNTAC administration. [16] At the same time, the UNTAC administration allowed the opening of political offices and political parties such as FUNCINPEC and the BLDP began to propagate anti-Vietnamese sentiments among the populace to shore up electorate support in the 1993 general elections. [17] In November 1992, the Khmer Rouge which controlled northwestern parts of Cambodia, passed a resolution to target systematic killings of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians. [18] The first guerrilla-style attacks by the Khmer Rouge on Vietnamese civilians started in December 1992, and Khmer Rouge soldiers justified the killings by claiming that some of the civilians were Vietnamese soldiers in disguise. [19] The spate of killings by Khmer Rouge prompted some 21,000 ethnic Vietnamese to flee to Vietnam in March 1993. [20]

United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia UN peacekeeping mission to implement Cambodian-Vietnamese peace

The United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) was a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Cambodia in 1992–93 formed following the 1991 Paris Peace Accords. It was also the first occasion on which the UN had taken over the administration of an independent state, organised and run an election, had its own radio station and jail, and been responsible for promoting and safeguarding human rights at the national level.

FUNCINPEC political party

FUNCINPEC, National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative Cambodia in English, is a royalist political party in Cambodia. Founded in 1981 by Norodom Sihanouk, it started off as a resistance movement against the People's Republic of Kampuchea (PRK) government. In 1982, it formed a resistance pact, the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK), together with the Khmer People's National Liberation Front (KPNLF) and the Khmer Rouge. It was one of the signatory parties of the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, which paved the way for the formation of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). In 1992, FUNCINPEC became a political party and participated in the 1993 general elections organised by UNTAC. It won the elections, and formed a coalition government with the Cambodian People's Party (CPP), with which it jointly headed. Norodom Ranariddh, Sihanouk's son who had succeeded him as the party president, became First Prime Minister while Hun Sen, who was from the CPP, became Second Prime Minister.

The Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party (BLDP) was a Cambodian political party founded in 1993 by former Cambodian Prime Minister Son Sann. The BLDP was created as a successor to the Khmer People's National Liberation Front (KPNLF), an anti-communist group also started by Son Sann.

In August 1994, the National Assembly of Cambodia introduced an immigration law which authorises the deportation of illegal immigrants. The UNHCR perceived the law as targeting Vietnamese migrants in Cambodia, and the Cambodian government later stepped in to assure that no mass deportations of Vietnamese refugees would be implemented. The Khmer Rouge continued to carry out sporadic attacks on Vietnamese civilians until they surrendered in 1999. Ethnic Vietnamese continue to face discrimination from Cambodian society, and encountered physical intimidation from society and government authorities especially during the general elections or when disputes between Cambodia and Vietnam arise. [21]

National Assembly of Cambodia National Assembly of Cambodia

The National Assembly is one of the two houses (chambers) of the Parliament of Cambodia. It is referred to as the lower house, with the Senate being referred to as the upper house.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees United Nations agency mandated to protect and support refugees

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is a United Nations programme with the mandate to protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people, and assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country.



The Vietnamese are generally concentrated along the river banks of the Tonlé Sap lake and Mekong river which encompass the provinces of Siem Reap, Kampong Chhnang and Pursat. [22] Smaller populations may be found in Phnom Penh as well as southeastern provinces bordering Vietnam, namely Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, [23] Kampot, Kandal, Kratié [24] and Takeo. [11] The Vietnamese population was at its largest in 1962 when the government census showed that they were the country's largest minority and reflected 3.8% of the country's population. Demographic researchers returned higher estimated numbers of Vietnamese than government censuses reflect. For example, in the 1960s, the number of resident Vietnamese may be as high as 400,000, [12] while another Cambodian-based researcher, Michael Vickery had estimated the Vietnamese resident population to be between 200,000 and 300,000 in 1986. On the other hand, government censuses conducted during the 1980s put the figures to be no more than 60,000. [25] The following population figures shows population figures of ethnic Vietnamese based on figures derived from government censuses:

Population history
18744,452 [26]
191179,050 [26]
1921140,225 [26]
1931176,000 [7]
1936191,000 [26]
1962218,000 [12]
19818,197 [25]
198456,000 [25]
199595,597 [25]
199896,597 [25]
200872,775 [25] [27]
201314,678 [27]


Vietnamese Catholic church in Kampong Luong Kompong luong catholic church.jpg
Vietnamese Catholic church in Kampong Luong

The Vietnamese identify themselves as adherents of Mahayana Buddhism, Cao Đài or Roman Catholicism. Vietnamese Buddhists are mainly found among impoverished communities living in the Tonle Sap or the rural parts of Cambodia. As Vietnamese Buddhists derive their religious doctrines and beliefs from Chinese folk religion, they participate in religious rituals organised by Chinese Cambodians during festive seasons. [28] Vietnamese communities that have settled down in Cambodia have adopted Khmer Theravada Buddhist practices to some extent. [29] Vietnamese adherents of Roman Catholicism consist of descendants of refugees that fled the religious persecution during the reign of Tự Đức. They are split between city dwellers based in Phnom Penh [30] and fishing communities that are based in Tonle Sap. [31] Vietnamese Catholics make up about 90% of Cambodia's Roman Catholic community, and in the 1960s they had about 65,000 adherents in the country. Most of the Vietnamese Catholics were either deported to Vietnam or killed in March 1970, [32] and it was only in 1990 that the Catholic church was allowed to re-establish itself in Cambodia. In 2005, there were about 25,000 Catholics in the country. [31]

A minority of Vietnamese are also followers of the Cao Đài faith which was introduced in 1927. The Cao Đài faith attracted both Vietnamese and Cambodian adherents within the first few years of its founding, but a royal decree which outlawed the religion and efforts by Cambodian nationalists to prosecute Khmer adherents led to Cao Dai being observed solely by Vietnamese from the 1930s onwards. [33] A Cao Đài temple was built in Mao Tse Tung Boulevard in 1937, and in the 1960s there were about 70,000 adherents in Cambodia. Cao Đài was outlawed during the Khmer Republic and Khmer Rouge regimes, but regained official recognition in 1985 and has about 2,000 adherents in 2000. [34]


The Vietnamese as a whole exhibit varying levels of fluency in the Khmer and Vietnamese languages. Vietnamese that live in self-contained fishing communities along the Tonle Sap use Vietnamese in their day-to-day conversations and have individuals that have limited Khmer language skills [35] and those that are bilingual in both languages. [36] On the other hand, Vietnamese that live in predominantly Khmer-speaking neighbourhoods send their children to public schools, and as a result the children are able to speak Khmer fluently but show very limited understanding of Vietnamese. [35]


Field research carried out by ethnologists such as Stefan Ehrentraut shows that only a minority of Vietnamese children attend public schools, with figures varying across different provinces. In Kampong Chhnang and Siem Reap where the Vietnamese live along the river banks, enrolment into public schools fare below 10%, whereas in other provinces such as Kampot and Kratie the proportion are higher. [37] As the majority of Vietnamese do not carry citizenship papers, they were unable to enrol their children into public schools. [38] For those who send their children to schools, most of them only attend school for a few years and seldom complete Grade 12 as Vietnamese parents were unable to afford school fees. Vietnamese students also faced difficulties in academic work, as classes are taught exclusively in the Khmer language, and Vietnamese children that grew up speaking Vietnamese at home have limited competency in Khmer. [39] In some Vietnamese communities based in the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers, there are private schools that are run by Vietnamese community associations and Christian organisations. The private schools cater the teaching of the Vietnamese language, and are mostly attended by children of impoverished families. [40]


During the French colonial administration, educated Vietnamese were employed in the civil service administration as secretaries, clerks and bureaucrats. When Cambodia gained independence in 1953, the Sihanouk-led government phased out most of the Vietnamese civil servants with Cambodians, and they sought employment in banks and commercial enterprises as secretaries and other office-based positions. In the 1960s, urban-dwelling Vietnamese with lower education backgrounds also worked as mechanics in car repair and machine shops owned by Chinese businessmen. Vietnamese immigrants that settled in the countryside worked as fishermen along the Tonle Sap lake and Mekong river, [30] and also as rubber plantation workers in Kampong Cham and Kratie provinces. [41]

As most Vietnamese are stateless residents, they seek a living through ad-hoc various industries such as the construction, recycling and prostitution industries or as street pedlars. Vietnamese that live along the Tonle Sap lake and Mekong rivers are subsistence fishermen. [42] A sizeable number of these stateless Vietnamese consisted of migrants that came to Cambodia between 1992 and 1993 during the UNTAC administration. [43] The majority of Vietnamese still live below the poverty line, [44] although a very small number of Vietnamese are represented in the Cambodian business sector. One example is Sok Kong, the head of the business conglomerate Sokimex which owns state concessionaires in the country's petroleum, tourism and entrepot industries. [45]

Relations with community and society


Almost 90% of ethnic Vietnamese are stateless residents of Cambodia, and do not carry citizenship papers such as identity cards or birth certificates. [29] The 1996 Cambodian law on nationality technically permits Vietnamese residents born in Cambodia to take up citizenship, but faced resistance from mid-ranking interior ministry officials who generally refrain from registering Vietnamese residents due to concerns of political implications from opposition parties if citizenship were to be granted. [46] A minority of Vietnamese residents were able to obtain citizenship only after paying bribes to interior ministry officials, or were married to Khmer spouses. [24] The minority of Vietnamese residents who hold citizenship reported of interior ministry officials confiscating their citizenship papers. [47] As a result, the Vietnamese faced legal restrictions from getting access to public healthcare, education, employment and buying land for housing as the majority do not carry Cambodian citizenship. Stateless Vietnamese built floating settlements in-lieu of buying land-based dwellings which require citizenship papers. [48] According to field research carried out by Cambodia's Minority Rights Organisation, interior ministry officials would confront Vietnamese fishermen in the Tonle Sap and demand bribes in order to allow them to carry out fishing. [49]

Inter-ethnic relations

Ethnic Khmers have a poor perception of the Vietnamese community, due to persistent feelings of communal animosity from the past history of Vietnamese rule over Cambodia. [50] In 1958, a survey conducted by William Willmott upon high school students in Phnom Penh showed that relations with Chinese were generally rated as friendly, whereas Khmer students viewed their Vietnamese classmates with suspicion. [10] Relations between the Vietnamese and Chinese are considerably better, as both ethnic groups share a close cultural affinity. Chinese males sometimes take Vietnamese wives, particularly in Phnom Penh and eastern parts of the country where there are large Chinese and Vietnamese communities. [51] In recent years, field research carried out by Ehrentraut in 2013 suggested that ethnic relations between Vietnamese have deteriorated not only with the ethnic Khmer, but also with the Cham and Chinese Cambodians. [52]

Most Vietnamese are unrepresented in the Cambodian commune councils as they lack Cambodian citizenship. [53] According to respondents from Ehrentraut's field research, the majority of Cambodian commune chiefs and officials express support in excluding Vietnamese representatives from getting citizenship and participating in commune elections and meetings due to contempt. [44] The Vietnamese appoint their own village heads, and convey community concerns Vietnamese community associations (Vietnamese: Tổng hội người Campuchia gốc Việt) that was first established in 2003. The community associations own limited assets and obtains funding from membership fees, donations from the Vietnamese embassy in Cambodia and sale of cemetery land from the Vietnamese communities. [47] The funds are subsequently used to address Vietnamese communal concerns which includes supporting religious places of worship and teaching of the Vietnamese language, as well as providing assistance to disadvantaged families. While the community associations have the tacit support of the Vietnamese community, the majority do not accept membership for fear of getting social stigma from mainstream Cambodian society. As of 2013, branches of these associations are established in 19 out of 23 provinces across Cambodia. [54]


The issue of Vietnamese presence in Cambodia has been used as a topic by political parties to shore up electorate support since the 1993 general elections. Mainstream political parties that participated in the 1993 election included FUNCINPEC, BLDP and MOLINAKA, and they broached on topics concerning the presence of Cambodia's Vietnamese population and perceived Vietnamese interference in the government during campaign trails. These political parties also charged that the presence of Vietnamese in the country were the cause of economic failures, and promises were made to expel the Vietnamese in the situation that they win the elections. [55] During this same period of time, the Khmer Rouge which has earlier refused to participate in the elections also espoused similar anti-Vietnamese sentiments with mainstream political parties albeit on a more extreme form. The Khmer Rouge would issue statements and radio broadcasts accusing UNTAC of collaborating with Vietnam, and called for expulsion of the Vietnamese population through force. They would follow up with attacks upon Vietnamese civilians, which continued even after the end of the 1993 elections. [56]

When the 1998 general elections were held, FUNCINPEC and the then-newly formed Sam Rainsy Party repeated the use of anti-Vietnamese rhetoric in their campaigns. The leaders of these two parties, Norodom Ranariddh and Sam Rainsy charged that some stateless Vietnamese had bribed state officials to obtain citizenship and the Vietnamese government still maintained political influence over the ruling party, the Cambodian People's Party. [57] At the same time, number of incidences of violent attacks against Vietnamese civilians rose, which are carried out by both the Khmer Rouge remnants and Cambodian civilians alike. [58] The number of politically motivated acts of violence against Vietnamese civilians reduced after 2000, and in the subsequent 2003 and 2008 general elections opposition political parties the use of anti-Vietnamese rhetoric was also reduced. [59] In October 2009, Sam Rainsy charged Vietnam of encroaching into Cambodian territory in their border demarcation exercise, and led a group of activists to uproot Cambodian-Vietnamese border posts in Svay Rieng. Although Sam Rainsy was sentenced to imprisonment in absentia over this incident, [60] the incident became a major focus in electoral campaigns by the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) for the 2013 general elections. CNRP leaders also stoked claims on historical ties of Kampuchea Krom, and led to more anti-Vietnamese sentiments among CNRP supporters. [61] [62] When the CNRP narrowly lost the 2013 elections, they launched a series of anti-government protests between 2013-2014 which resulted in incidents of Vietnamese shops in Phnom Penh being ransacked. [63]

The vast majority of the Vietnamese support the CPP, and those who carry Cambodian citizenship would vote for the party. Vietnamese support for the CPP has mostly driven by strong anti-Vietnamese sentiments from other political parties. Although many members within the rank and file of the CPP share anti-Vietnamese sentiments with other political parties, the CPP maintained an openly neutral stance towards the Vietnamese community. According to Ehrentraut, the CPP's neutral stance was a balance between not providing open support for the Vietnamese community, which would have the potential effect of losing electoral votes to other political parties, while at the same time maintaining close ties with the Vietnamese government which the CPP had historical ties dating back to 1979. [64] Vietnamese who hold Cambodian citizenship have also expressed fear over physical insecurity during election periods, which is most apparent during the 1993 and 2013 elections when Vietnamese civilians faced physical intimidation from the Khmer Rouge [65] and CNRP supporters respectively and have abstained from participating in elections. [66]

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The Cambodia National Rescue Party, commonly abbreviated as CNRP, was a major political party in Cambodia. It was founded in 2012 as a merger between the Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights Party.

Cambodian genocide murder of approx. 1.5 to 3 million Cambodians, along with mass detention and torture, carried out by the Khmer Rouge government between 1975 and 1979

The Cambodian genocide was carried out by the Khmer Rouge regime under the leadership of Pol Pot, and it resulted in the deaths of between 1.671 and 1.871 million people from 1975 to 1979, or 21 to 24 percent of Cambodia’s 1975 population. The Khmer Rouge wanted to turn the country into a socialist agrarian republic, founded on the policies of ultra-Maoism. In 1976, the Khmer Rouge changed the name of the country to Democratic Kampuchea. In order to fulfill their goals, the Khmer Rouge emptied the cities and forced Cambodians to relocate to labor camps in the countryside, where mass executions, forced labor, physical abuse, malnutrition, and disease were prevalent. This resulted in the death of approximately 25 percent of Cambodia's total population. Approximately 20,000 people passed through the Tuol Sleng Centre, one of the 196 prisons operated by the Khmer Rouge, and only 7 adults survived. The prisoners were taken to the Killing Fields, where they were executed and buried in mass graves. The abduction and indoctrination of children was widespread, and many were persuaded or forced to commit atrocities. The genocide triggered a second outflow of refugees, many of whom escaped to neighboring Vietnam and, to a lesser extent, Thailand. The Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia ended the genocide by defeating the Khmer Rouge in 1979.

2013–14 Cambodian protests Cambodian anti-government protests in 2013 and 2014

Anti-government protests were ongoing in Cambodia from July 2013 to July 2014. Popular demonstrations in Phnom Penh have taken place against the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, triggered by widespread allegations of electoral fraud during the Cambodian general election of 2013. Demands to raise the minimum wage to $160 a month and resentment at Vietnamese influence in Cambodia have also contributed to the protests. The main opposition party refused to participate in parliament after the elections, and major demonstrations took place throughout December 2013. A government crackdown in January 2014 led to the deaths of 4 people and the clearing of the main protest camp.


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