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Chronology Of Cambodian History
Pol Pot (Sarlot Sar)

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Pol Pot

Pol Pot was born Sarloth Sar on May 25, 1928 in the village of Prek Sbauv, Kompong Thom province, Cambodia. He was the eighth of nine children of Mr. Pen Sarloth and Mrs. Sok Nem; a prosperous farmer.

In 1934/35, Sar was sent by his parents to live with his cousin and brother in Phnom Penh where he spent several months as a novice at Wat Botum. Soon after, he attended a Catholic primary school, the Ecole Miche. He then moved back to Kompong Thom province where he was selected to attend a newly establish junior high school (college Norodom Sihanouk) in Kompong Cham province in 1942. In 1948, Sar enrolled as a carpentry student at the Ecole Technique at Russey Keo, and the following year he received a government scholarship to study in France.

In Paris, Sar attended City Universitaire where he enrolled for courses connected with radio-electricity. His academic career there made no progress; he took no examination and lost his scholarship as a result. By the time he returned home, in December 1952, Sar had gained no formal degree. However, while he was in Paris, Sar became a member of the French Communist party. He attended numerous meeting with his fellow Cambodian students and many future Cambodian communists; he also visited Yugoslavia.

After arriving in Cambodia, Sar joined the Vietnamese-dominated Communist resistance against the French colonialism and became a member of the Indochinese Communist party (ICP). The ICP was founded by Ho Chi Minh, Vietnamese leader, in 1930; it was broke up in 1951 into three national parties.

In 1956, he took up a career in teaching at a private college Chamraon Vichea in Phnom Penh. At the same time, he worked in secret with the Cambodia Communist party, the Khmer People's Revolutionary Party - KPRP, in which Tou Samouth was the party secretary. In 1960, KPRP was renamed Workers' Party of Kampuchea - WPK; Sar became member of the party central committee.

In July 1962, Tou Samouth mysteriously disappeared. Sar became acting secretary of the party central committee. In 1963 as his secrete activity was under scrutiny by police and when their names appeared on a government list which branded them as communist (Reds list), Sar and his associates - Ieng Sary, Son Sen and all members of WPK Central Committee; except Nuon Chea whose name was not on the list - fled to eastern Cambodia. Before leaving Phnom Penh, Sar was named general secretary of WPK Central Committee.

In 1966 the Cambodian communist party under Sarloth Sar renamed the party again to Communist Party of Kampuchea - CPK. From 1966 to 1975, Sar lived in Northeastern of Cambodia, and moved from place to place. Occasionally, he traveled to Hanoi or Beijing. Up until 1970, Sar and his small forces staged a sporadic attack on the government forces. However, by 1973 the Khmer Rouge attacked government troops throughout the country to extend territorial control.

On April 17, 1975 Khmer Rouge troops captured the capital, Phnom Penh, and within 24 hours the city was order evacuated. Sarloth Sar secretly entered Phnom Penh on April 23, and began his plan of building an agrarian utopia in which more than one million Cambodians perished three years later.

He assumed a pseudonym "Pol Pot" and ran the country until April 1976 when the People's Representative Assembly was selected. The Assembly met and approved the new government of Democratic Kampuchea and Sarloth Sar as prime minister.

In 1979, a border dispute led to a Vietnamese invasion of Cambodian, which overthrew the Khmer Rouge regime and installed a regime friendly to the Vietnamese.

Pol Pot fled to southwestern Cambodia where he led a Khmer Rouge insurgency against the Vietnamese's occupation. He was supported by China and Thailand. In the 1980s the Khmer Rouge entered an alliance with other two Cambodia's resistance forces - FUNCINPEC of Prince Norodom Sihanouk and KPNLF of Son Sann - to form Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea, which recognized by the United Nations.

From 1981 until the end of 1986, Pol Pot dropped out of sight. In 1985 Pol Pot resigned from military and political leadership of the Khmer Rouge, but he stayed on as the director of the Higher Institute of National Defense.

In 1991 the Khmer Rouge signed a peace treaty officially ending the Cambodian was.

In the mid- 1990s, the Khmer Rouge suffered reverses due to internal fighting and government military offensives against them. The Khmer Rouge split apart in 1996 when its moderate faction lead by Pol Pot's foreign minister, Ieng Sary, defected to the government. Hard-liners under Pol Pot stayed in their mountain jungle stronghold.

On July 25 Pol Pot was put on trial by his former followers for ordering the killing of the Khmer Rouge defense minister, Son Sen, and Sen's relatives on July 10. Pol Pot was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Pol Pot died on April 15, 1998 at the Khmer Rouge stronghold of Anlong Veng, from the appearance heart attack and was cremated the next day.

"..to break up enemy spy organizationthe evacuation had prevented Cambodia's enemies from making use of the sabotage and trouble-making by their secret agentsin spite of the number of border clashes, it is impossible for enemies to attack and occupy Cambodia from the outside" Pol Pot's statement, explaining the evacuation of cities and towns, at a new conference in Peking at the end of his official visit to China on October 2, 1977.

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