This Week In Cambodian History: September 3-9

On September 3, 1972, parliamentary elections were held, and the Social Republican Party (SRP) headed by Lon Non won 126 out of 126 seats in the National Assembly, after opposition political parties boycotted the elections.

On September 3, 2017, Kem Sokha, Cambodia’s opposition leader and President of the CNRP, was arrested and charged with treason and conspiracy.

On September 4, 1993, Sihanouk, in North Korea, wrote to Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Chief of Mission Yasushi Akashi  that ‘Cambodia is an independent, neutral and non-aligned state, neither a Kingdom nor a Monarchy. It is simply a Cambodian Cambodia.’ It was in this context that he became furious at the UN, alleging that UNTAC told the BBC that he wanted the restoration of monarchy. he wrote to Akashi that he was breaking off all relations with UNTAC and asked Akashi not to make a scheduled trip to Beijing.  While he subsequently toned down his furor against UNTAC, he remained suspicious of perceived UN meddling in the constitution drafting process.

On September 4, 2013, Ambassador David Scheffer, U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Expert on United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials released a statement on the budget crisis at the ECCC. READ

On September 4, 2017, the final edition of the Cambodia Daily was printed, announcing its immediate closure. According to the owners, the closure was the result of a dispute with the Cambodian government over a US$6.3 million tax bill, which was disputed by the newspaper’s ownership as politically motivated.

On September 4- 5 1998, days of bloody protests began over the results of the 1998 national elections.

On September 6, 2016, a grenade attack near Toul Sleng was initially reported as politically motivated. It was later said to be due to a love rivalry and had nothing to do with politics.

On September 6, 2018, the new 5 year government was sworn in, with the CPP holding all 125 seats in parliament.

On September 7, 1840, King Sisowath was born in Battambang. His reign lasted from 1904 until his death in 1927.

 On September 7, 1962, a telegram was sent from the US Embassy in Phnom Penh to the Department of State:

Sihanouk’s present insistent demands for “guarantees” of Cambodian neutrality and territorial integrity and his threat to ask for Soviet and Chinese Communist troops as last resort to protect Cambodian independence may be large-scale blackmail. Possibility always exists however, he may do just what he says in event “guarantees” or some kind of assurances affording partial, if not full, satisfaction his needs are not forthcoming. To the extent we ignore this possibility, we are heading on collision course leading to possible disaster.……..

While picture of small, weak Cambodia without means of defense against organized aggression across border may be convincing one, less convincing is Cambodian unwillingness accept any responsibility for border incidents or for actions which have contributed to present situation. Sihanouk’s constant public attacks on Thai leaders and GVN, coupled with Cambodian press campaign along similar lines, RKG’s failure return GVN planes and crew of seized fishing vessel are examples of RKG intransigeance which has added fuel to flame. Sihanouk recognized Cambodia’s greatest weapon is publicity and plays it to the hilt. FULL TELEGRAM

On September 7, 1973, bolstered by troops transferred from the airport and by 16 naval vessels, FANK were able to counterattack a major Communist attack that had threatened Phnom Penh.

On September 7, 1998, sit-in protests were held to contest the results of the July election. Diplomatic reports out of Phnom Penh said two Vietnamese, both women, were killed outside the French embassy when they were caught by a hysterical crowd accusing them of possessing containers of chemicals used to poison locally brewed rice wine. Dozens of Cambodians died the previous week after drinking tainted rice wine.

On September 7, 2000, Cambodian schools were allowed to reopen, after being closed since March due to COVID-19.

On September 8, 1998, security forces fired into protesters, with at least one fatality. Three hand grenades were thrown from one or more motorcycles at Hun Sen’s Phnom Penh residence. Two grenades exploded in his compound, and one fell harmlessly outside, the police said. No one was hurt.

On September 8-9, 1993, a meeting of the  International Committee on the Reconstruction of Cambodia was held in Paris, at which new pledges amounting to $120 million were made.

On September 9, 1951, parliamentary elections were held and the Democratic Party won a majority of the seats in the National Assembly.

On September 9, 1957, Sim Var signed a declaration recognizing the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.

On September 9, 1975, Sihanouk briefly returned to Cambodia as Head of State to inter the ashes of his mother, before going abroad again to lobby for diplomatic recognition of Democratic Kampuchea.

On September 9, 1976, ‘Great friend’ of Sihanouk and mentor to Pol Pot, Chairman Mao was pronounced dead in Beijing.

On September 9, 1985, The New York Times published an opinion piece ‘The Roots of Cambodia’s Misery’

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