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.

中柬人民战斗友谊不断发展

The Militant Friendship between the Chinese and Kampuchean Peoples Endlessly Develops

为建立和发展中国与柬埔寨之间的电信联系,中国电信代表团去年十一月对民主柬埔寨进行了一次友好访问。这次访问对我们来说是向英雄的柬埔寨人民学习的一次好机会。

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.

我们在民主柬埔寨访问期间,处处都体会到柬埔寨人民对中国人民的深厚战斗友谊。当我们一走下飞机,就受到民主柬埔寨外交部和交通委员会的同志们极其热烈的欢迎,他们表示:我们热烈欢迎中国同志,希望你们到我们这儿来就象在家里一样,因为我们是同志,是兄弟。简短的几句说,充分表达出柬埔寨同志对我们的真挚感情。

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.

我们到达柬埔寨后,柬埔寨同志对我们的生活安排、照顾得很周到,使我们确实感到就象在家里一样愉快、温暖。在外地参观中,我们代表团的一位同志因气候不适应,回到金边后感冒发烧。柬埔寨同志马上从医院请来大夫。服务员同志了解到我们这位同志一天没吃饭,尽管已是深夜十一点多了,立即熬了香甜的绿豆稀饭,并做了几样可口的菜送到我们代表团住地。第二天,那位大夫一早就来看望他并告诉这位同志,医院指示她每天两次来了解病情,我们听了都十分感动。我们这位同志在柬埔寨同志的精心治疗下,很快恢复了健康。但这位大夫还是照例一天两次来看望,继续给他打针吃药,这使他十分过意不去,特别看到所用的针药都是最好的,马上想到柬埔寨解放不久,药品还不充足,就按捺不住内心的激动向大夫说:“我的病好了,把针药留给柬埔寨同志吧!”这位大夫十分恳切地说:“好了,还需巩固,你在柬埔寨得的病要在柬埔寨国土上彻底治好。”

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)