Paris Peace Accords 23 Oct. 1991

Friday, March 18, 2016

[Vietnamization] The Vietnamization of Kampuchea: A New Model of Colonialism (Indochina Report, October 1984)

The Vietnamization of Kampuchea: 
A New Model of Colonialism

Indochina Report (October 1984)

Part II: Vietnamization of the Economic Framework (continued)

The Unequal Exchange
It is within this new institutional framework that the Vietnamese are asserting their hold over the economy and future of KampucheaFisheriesrubber and rice are the three main sectors affected by what should be termed the Unequal Exchange between Vietnam and Kampuchea. 

As for fisheries, a cooperation accord was signed on 20 January 1984 between Phnom Penh's Ministry of Agriculture and Hanoi's Ministry of Marines Products.

During his visit to Phnom Penh, the Vietnamese Minister Nguyen Tien Trinh has pledged to provide "all kinds of assistance to the PRK's Ministry of Agriculture, including fishing tools and moral, maternal and technical aid for building fishing sites and shrimp boats for sea fishing, in order to develop the Kampuchea-Vietnam solidarity in fisheries."  On this occasion, Khmer Minister of Planning Chea Soth curiously expressed the confidence that "with the assistance of the Vietnamese delegation, Kampuchea's fisheries will soon make progress!"
In reality, what is this accord about?  Behind all the redundant jargon, the agreement serves only to sanction the near monopoly of the Vietnamese over the fisheries resources in Kampuchea, and in particular in the Sea-Lake area (Tonle Sap).  Since the beginning of 1983, all fishing activities in this area have to be registered at the local "Production Office" (Phong Tang Gia), which provide all the necessary tools such as boat motors, gas and nets, in exchange for 90 per cent of the catch.  Thus, the Rear Services and Supply Department of the Vietnamese occupying forces collects some 50 tones of fish (of the 150 tonnes daily catch) which are then distributed to all the units stationed in Kampuchea.  Besides, 60 tonnes of fish are sent daily by cargo ship to Chau Doc, My Tho, Can Tho, and Saigon.  Recently, the Vietnamese Authority set up cold storage facilities in Kampuchea to reduce losses in storage and processing.
Rubber is another product which is systematically exploited by the Vietnamese in Kampuchea.  With approximately 50,000 tonnes produced in the prewar yearsrubber was Kampuchea's most important export commodity after rice.  

During the Khmer Rouge period, rubber production had totally collapsed.  Since 1980, with the direct intervention of Hanoi's General Rubber Department, the production and processing of latex had steadily expanded and in 1981, 18,577 tonnes of rubber were exported, exclusively to the Soviet Union.  In 1983, latex exports to the same country even increased by 40 per cent.  This year the production is expected to reach that of the prewar years.
Such an increase in the rubber production is not only due to the expansion of rubber plantations and latex treatment enterprises or the building of new crepe processing workshops with the assistance of the Soviet Union but is also due to an over-exploitation by the Vietnamese of some 60,000 hectares of heveas plantations, mostly located in the district of Kompong Cham (Choup, Kret, Svay, Chroum, and Svay Thep).

As for the plantations of Choup, according to a Vietnamese dissident source, the Hanoi authorities have mobilized since 1981 some 20,000 young people, not only from the Dong Nai province (South Vietnam), but also from Thai Binh, Thanh Hoa, Nghe Tinh and Ha Nam Ninh (North Vietnam).  Considered as a 'New Economic Zone' the Choup Rubber Plantation is today divided into 12 work farms (nong troung).  

Its administration has been taken over by the Vietnamese state-owned Dong Nai Rubber Company which employs only some 4,000 Khmer workers.  The annual production of latex is up to 15,000 tonnes which are directly transported to Kompong Som to be taken away in Soviet ships.

And what is the state of rice production in Kampuchea.  Recently, the Heng Samrin regime announced a food shortage of 228,000 tonnes of milled rice for 1984, with the 1983-84 monsoon and dry season rice crops yielding only 864,000 tonnes of milled rice.  UN sources forecast that an acute food shortage will develop in July-October 1984 and a full famine emergency may occur in 1985, if large relief operations are not mounted soon.  Such a dramatic situation could no longer be put wither on the account of the Khmer Rouge's legacy, or on the war situation.  In fact, it stems mainly from the very fact that the Vietnamese occupying forces, as well as the Vietnamese settlers, are misappropriating a good part of the Khmer rice.  Aid workers in Phnom Penh reported that there are rice shipments by boat down the Mekong River to Vietnam.

Indeed, it is widely admitted by foreign observers that the Bo Doi has the right to requisition the rice and other farm products directly from the Khmer peasants and for his personal needs.  Since the reorganization in 1979-80 of the labor force into about 95,000 Krom Samaki (of 12 to 15 families each), the collection of crops and taxes has become more systematic.  Through the local Production Offices, some 25,000 tonnes of rice are annually diverted by the Rear Service and Supply Department to the Vietnamese occupying forces.  The arrival of thousands of Vietnamese families in the Eastern regions bordering Vietnam (Kratie, Kompong Cham,Prey Veng, Takeo, Svay Rieng) has considerably aggravated the food situation in Kampuchea since the Khmer peasants are forced to share their lands, labor tools and even the paddy crops. Furthermore, the Vietnamese advisors of Phnom Penh's Ministry of Finance have just established a new farming tax. called "Viphiekatien Sneha Cheat Samrap Dey Srae" or national contribution on paddy fields."'
An agreement on economic and technical cooperation for 1984 was signed on 21 January between Hanoi's Food Ministry and Phnom Penh's Trade Ministry. By virtue of this accord, the Vietnamese will aid Kampuchea in installing the network of rice huskers, setting up a service to control the quality of foodstuffs and training cadres in this sector (67). Are the Vietnamese authorities eager to expand their control over the rice production in Kampuchea? Anyway; according to another incontrovertible source,
the biggest rice processing factory in the District of Siem Reap is in the hands of the Vietnamese, who have introduced the planting of the IR-36 rice grain in the area (68)
The twinning of "sister provinces between Kampuchea and Vietnam, completed in the summer of 1983, has installed another institutional framework for the Unequal Exchange.  Indeed, this technique allows the Vietnamese to reap the full benefit of the national resources of Kampuchea under the umbrella of the so-called "shining solidarity between Vietnam and Kampuchea," since the twinning process imposes all kinds of accompanying obligations upon the Khmer people.
List of Sister Provinces
1.  Ho Chi Minh City                 Phnom Penh 
2.  Ha Tien                                  Kompong Som 
3.  Binh Tri Thien                      Siem Reap  
4.  Quang Narn Danang           Battambang 
5.  Nghia Binh                            Ratanakiri 
6.  Gia Lai Kong Turn               Mondulkiri
7.  Phu Khanh                            Kratie
8.  Dac Lac                                  Kandal
9.   Thuan Hai                             Koh Kong 
10.  Lam Dong                           Stung Treng 
11.  Song Be                                Preah Vithear 
12.  Tay Ninh                              Kompong Cham
13.  Dong Nal                              Oddar Manchey
14.  Long An                                  Svay Rieng
15.  Dong Thap                             Pursat
16.  Ben Tre                                Kompong Speu
17.  Cuu Long                             Takeo
18.  An Giang                              Kompong Thom
19.  Hau Giang                           Kompong Chhnang
20.  Minh Hal                             Kampot
Some examples suffice to show that the twinning of the Khmer provinces only serves to facilitate the economic integration of Kampuchea within Vietnam's economy. It is not a coincidence that the rich province of Battambang is coupled with the overpopulated region of Quang Nam. Indeed, a good part of rice from this province is annually sent to Danang, which is always in a state of chronic food shortage, in order to help the Vietnamese to meet their requirements. In exchange. the Khmers receive bicycles and cement (69) Siem Reap, twinned with Binh Tri Thien, has to provide the Vietnamese, besides paddy crops, with the missing farm products, such as corn, lotus seeds and salt vegetables. To reciprocate, workers from Hue and its suburb, are now investing in the expanding building industry in Siem Reap, where the Khmer workers are forced to find the clay, while the Vietnamese new settlers produce bricks and tiles, earning a monthly salary of 90 riels. In Siem Reap, the Vietnamese also control the biggest factory of fish sauce (nuoc mam) (70)
In some other important twinned provinces, such as Phnom Penh (with Ho Chi Minh City), Kompong Cham (with Tay Ninh) of Kompong Som (with Ha Tien),
the Vietnamese settlers will eventually control the commerce in basic products, such as fabric and clothing, crockery, oil, salt and soap, while the Khmers continue to contribute the traditional dry fish and the usual fruits. But among all these trends, the Vietnamese penetration in key commercial sectors in Kampuchea appears to produce far reaching effects in the long run. Will the Vietnamese eventually replace the Chinese in the Khmer economy? Anyway, such a trend is inseparable from a deliberate policy of Vietnamese settlement in Kampuchea.
 . . .

Dr. Luciolli's is the fourth in a series of exposes that Indochina Report has published on the Vietnamization process and confirms the previous analyses.  The others in the series are: "The Vietnamization of Cambodia: A New Model of Colonialism" (pre-publication issue, October 1984), "The Military Occupation of Kampuchea" (Issue No. 3, July-September 1985), and "Vietnamized Cambodia: A Silent Ethnocide" by Marie Alexandrine Martin (Issue No. 7, July-September 1986).

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