Someone told me recently that the archival materials that Chinese have on the Khmer Rouge will remain classified for 50 years. So we still have a couple of decades or so before people will be able to see what information might be there.
Potentially there could be some very interesting material, as there were more Chinese from the PRC in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge period, when the country was officially known as Democratic Kampuchea, than people from any other nation.
I recently got access to a database of the articles in the PRC newspaper, the People’s Daily (Renmin Ribao). I was curious to see what was reported in that paper about Cambodia under the rule of the Khmer Rouge.
There were not many articles, but there were some, such as the one below which was a report by some people who worked for China Telecom (中国电信 – I’m not sure if this is how this name should be translated) about a visit that they made to Democratic Kampuchea in November 1977.
The first half of the article is here below. It is from the 2 February 1978 issue of the People’s Daily. I will post the second half later.
It presents a pretty rosy picture of DK-PRC relations. To be fair, the relations between Chinese advisors and their DK colleagues may have been good. What was happening out the in countryside by that time, however, was of course another story.
The Militant Friendship between the Chinese and Kampuchean Peoples Endlessly Develops
In order to establish and develop telecommunications links between China and Kampuchea, a delegation from China Telecom paid a friendly visit to Democratic Kampuchea in November of last year of. For us, this visit was a good opportunity to learn about the heroic people of Kampuchea.
During our visit to Democratic Kampuchea, we experienced everywhere the deep militant friendship of the Kampuchean people towards the Chinese people. As soon as we stepped off the plane, we received a warm welcome from comrades from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Democratic Kampuchea and the Transportation Committee. They stated: “We warmly welcome the Chinese comrades. We hope that your coming to us here is just like being at home, because we are comrades, we are brothers.” In short, it was a full expression of the Kampuchean comrades’ sincere feelings toward us.
After we arrived in Kampuchea, the Kampuchean comrades were very thorough in taking care of our living arrangements, and made us feel as happy and warm as if we were at home. While we were visiting sites outside, one of the comrades in our delegation who was unaccustomed to the climate, became ill upon returning to Phnom Penh. The Kampuchean comrades immediately requested that a doctor come from the hospital.
A comrade waiter realized that our comrade had not eaten all day, and although it was already past 11 at night, he immediately cooked some delicious green bean porridge and some tasty vegetable dishes and delivered them to the residence of our delegation.
The next day that doctor came first thing in the morning to visit, and said to the comrade that she would come two times each day to keep track of [the comrade’s] condition. When we heard this we were all very moved. Our comrade quickly recovered under the expert treatment of the Kampuchean comrades, however that doctor still came twice a day and continued to provide acupuncture treatment and medicine. This made [our comrade] feel apologetic, especially seeing how the needles and medicine that were being used were the best. He immediately thought of how Kampuchea has only recently been liberated, and medicine is in short supply. Unable to conceal the excited emotions in his heart, he said to the doctor, “My illness is better. Leave the needles and medicine for the Kampuchean comrades!” The doctor then said with complete sincerity, “That is ok. You still need to gain strength. The illness that you contracted in Kampuchea must be fully treated on Kampuchea’s national soil.”
(to be continued)