The Economist’s obituary for Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary

Ieng Sary –, April 6, 2013
[Thanks to Tom for pointing these out.]
…You could say he was a proper revolutionary, in drab jacket, cap and scarf, railing against “economic saboteurs” who wasted food and “traitors”, undoubtedly CIA or KGB agents, who smoked Western cigarettes or had non-Cambodian blood. Yet he had been born in loathed Vietnam (his old Vietnamese name swapped for a Cambodian nom de guerre) to a Chinese mother and a rich father, and had become the very model of a hated French-speaking intellectual. Despite all that, slippery as an eel, he triumphantly survived inside the regime.
He was also increasingly rich. The peasant-poverty enjoined by the Khmers Rouges, and practised by some, never appealed to him. In 1982 (the movement still pretending to govern Cambodia from bases on the Thai border) he gave up the job of foreign minister to become minister of economics and finance, which required China’s largesse of more than $1 billion to flow through his hands. He made deals, too, with Thai sapphire-mining and logging companies. The rough frontier town of Pailin became his bailiwick, containing his large villa and bungalows, each with a tank parked outside, for his supporters. In 1996, sensing change in the wind, he persuaded thousands of Khmer Rouge troops to defect from Pol Pot, leave the jungle and claim an amnesty from the prime minister, Hun Sen, and King Sihanouk—a man to whom he had always bowed, while feeling nothing but contempt for him…

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