20 June 2007 By Uk Sav Bory Radio Free Asia Translated from Khmer by Heng Soy Read original RFA report in Khmer l Listen to read report More than 30 Khmer Kampuchea Krom people stood and demonstrated in front the office of the Vietnamese communist party central committee in Prey Nokor city (Ho Chi Minh city) this Tuesday morning. The demonstration took place after the Vietnamese authority prevented a number of Khmer Krom people from traveling by cars on Monday to hand over a petition to the Vietnamese prime minister asking for a resolution in the 500-hectare of lands owned by Khmer Krom people living in Motr Chrouk province (An Giang in Vietnamese) which were confiscated the Vietnamese authority several years ago. An anonymous representative of the Khmer Krom people, told RFA over the phone from Prey Nokor city that after the Vietnamese authority forced the 120 protesters, representing more than 400 Khmer Krom families involved in the land dispute, to travel several hundred kilometers by foot from Motr Chrouk province to Prey Nokor city, a group of about 30 protesters were able to secretly reach Prey Nokor city. This group is currently preparing to hand over their petitions to the Vietnamese prime minister to ask for his help in the resolution of the confiscation of Khmer Krom people lands by the Vietnamese authority several years ago. After the confiscation of their lands, Khmer Krom people no longer have lands for farming. “Some arrived in Prey Nokor city today. Right now, they are demonstrating, we are now in front the (Vietnamese communist) party central committee (office), and we are holding a demonstration, we have paper works that will be sent Hanoi also.” Monk Pisith Kong, an aid to the Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF), said that Khmer Krom people living in Motr Choruk province have demonstrated three times already to demand a resolution for the their (confiscated) lands. In the province of Khleang (Soc Trang in Vietnamese), there were 6 to 7 demonstrations held (to protest) about land problems, and there was one demonstration held by Khmer Krom monks to demand for their freedom to practice their Buddhism religious belief. The Vietnamese authority defrocked 16 Khmer Krom monks, and sentenced 5 of them to 2 to 4-year jail term. Furthermore, the Vietnamese authority dismissed the demands made by Khmer Krom people to get back their farmlands. Monk Pisith Kong said that the current demonstration is held to find out if the Vietnamese authority will respect its own country’s laws since it declared to the International community that it will respect the native people in Vietnam, including Khmer Krom people and Montagnard people. Monk Pisith Kong said: “During this demonstration, the KKF will ask the US government, during the visit of the Vietnamese president, Nguyen Minh Triet, to Washington DC on 22 June, to push and to pressure the Vietnamese government to respect the freedom rights of Khmer Krom people who lost their lands, as well as to request the US intervention in the savage defrocking on Khmer Krom monks, an act that is contrary to the International law.” Khmer Krom demonstrators in Prey Nokor city said that they are persevering until the Vietnamese government accept to resolve the lack of land problems faced by Khmer Krom people living in Motr Chrouk province, as stipulated by the Vietnamese law. The KKF said that Khmer Krom people are threatened on human rights issues, religious belief, culture, lack of farmlands, etc…, and the Vietnamese authority had posted police force around the homes of the demonstrators who are called out of their homes and taken in for questioning. In some instances, the Vietnamese authority also used violence to defrock and jail Khmer Krom monks who are demanding for the freedom rights. Even if they are faced with all these woes, Khmer Krom people are still continuing their fight in order to make their demands be known to the International community.
The Vietnamese communist government must stop ignoring the rights of Khmer-Krom people. After two weeks at this year’s Permanent Forum from 14/ May/ 07 to 25/ May/ 07, we have heard how the Vietnamese government wants the world to know it position in regards to it human rights record. The VN representative, Mr. Nguyen Tat Thanh said to the Permanent Forum that the KKF and Montagnard Foundation were “spreading false information”. He also mentioned to Mr. Stevanhagan, UN Special Rapporteur on Fundamental Freedoms and Rights, that the information on his report on Asia, in particular to Vietnam were false. In response, Mr. Stavangagen stated that he did not think that all the information he received were false and that he has sent letters to the Vietnam detailing the human rights violations reported but to this day has received no response from the government. He urged the government to reply detailing their version of the events. Mrs. Vicktoria Tauli Corpuz also added that the Permanent Forum provides a great opportunity for governments and indigenous organization to have dialogue and has urged Vietnam to find possible solution enable such dialogue to take place with KKF and Montagnards in the future so that interests of indigenous peoples are well represented. We would like to say thank you to the Permanent Forum for their work. I believe that if we didn’t have this forum, Khmer-Krom and other indigenous would not be here to present their voices. Disturbingly however, the VN continues to shamelessly request the Permanent Forum to stop the screening of Khmer-Krom film at the special side event on the 23/ 05/ 07. The Vietnam government is afraid of showing the world how bad its records are. As we have mention earlier, Vietnam is afraid of the truth. If we, as Khmer-Krom keep telling the truth, one day our suffering will end. “Wasn’t the Vietnam touched by this film? Will Vietnam be willing to tell the truth and creating dialogue to solve these serious issues with KKF and Montagnard? In various reports, VN is conducting plans to eliminate other ethnic peoples to fulfill their dream, “eliminated ethnic means no discrimination or no human tights violation”. When they defrocked our monk, it was an attempt to eliminate our civilization, culture and tradition. They know well that the temple is our living centre and that our monks are our warriors. In attempt to suppress any opposing opinions, the VN tried to critise the Forum, even the Special Rapporteur. “Why is the Vietnam communist government depriving Khmer-Krom of what we are entitled to under the Universal Human Rights and Freedom?” Khmer-Krom people are the people of this land and they deserve more respect than they have been getting from this communist government since its occupation since the 1600s. It’s clear that there is only one solution; the communist government must create a dialogue with KKF and Montagnard rather than continue denying the truth or hiding it beneath a bed of lies. The Vietnam representative accused us of creating a separate group that tried to separate the country. Who is the separatist and who really separates us? We will not go any where, move any where. We own this land, our culture, tradition, civilization carry on for thousand of year on this land. The world knows and the Vietnam knows. “Kampuchea Krom is our homeland and we always are there” T.Thach
Read Press Release in Khmer The government of Hanoi pays no attention to deceitful land grabbing committed by the Vietnamese authorities in the province Mot Chruk. People in Svay Tong and Kro Bauv district have attempted to travel to Ho Chi Minh City in order to protest and appeal for the return of their lands from the communist authorities and their citizens. Victims of illegal land grabbing included Jika-ang village, Rolarng village, Ka’ngok Pon village, Peam Buon village, Dey Krohorm village, Pothi village, Songke Douch village, Ompeay Svay village, Padeng village, and Kok Ompirl village. Numerous appeals have been made to the village authority, sub-district, district, and the province authority. Nothing has taking seriously by the authorities except for more false and empty promises. Is this a trademark attitude of Vietnamese communist government towards the Khmer Krom? The State of Vietnam employed police forces to arrest people riding on motorbikes planning to the protest. Two motorbike vehicles of the protestors have been confiscated. The police department in Ho Chi Minh City continues to despise and mock the efforts of those protesters and prevents any media from conduct interview and questioning. From the above information, we would like to ask all compatriots around the world to help us spreading the message to your friends, co-worker, your government, or someone you know about this unfair treatment toward Khmer Krom people by the Vietnamese communist government. Please contact us if you need more information or question regarding this news.
18 June 2007 By Sok Serei Radio Free Asia Translated from Khmer by Heng Soy On Monday, a group of 120 Khmer Kampuchea Krom people representing more than 400 families held a protest demonstration in Mort Chrouk province (An Giang province in Vietnamese) to demand from the local Vietnamese authority for a resolution in their land problems, and for the return of more than 500-hectare of lands confiscated from them. Following an unsuccessful demonstration, the demonstrators traveled by several cars from Motr Chrouk province to Prey Nokor city (Ho Chi Minh city) to hand over their demand petition to the Vietnamese authority. A source indicated that the demonstrators were not arrested by the Vietnamese authority, but a large number of Vietnamese cops forced the Khmer Krom people out of their cars and told them to travel to Prey Nokor by foot – a 300-kilometer trip that will take several days to reach by marching. Chau Soeun, a 55-year Khmer Krom from Nha Bang village, Motr Chrouk province, who is one of the 120 Khmer Krom representatives, told RFA over the phone: “We are protesting the land issue, the Vietnamese authority would not return back the land to the people, and now the people are protesting. But now, they do not even allow us to travel (to go to Prey Nokor) by car. We are walking under the hot sun.” Neang Sophea, a Khmer Krom woman from Motr Chrouk province discussed about the protest by saying: “The Viets do not allow our Khmer people to bring their protest to the higher authorities, what do the higher (Viet) authorities have to say?” Khmer Krom Monk Thach Pin, an aid to the Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) in Cambodia, said that KKF representatives in the US will hand over a petition to Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet during his visit in the US, to demand for the release of 5 Khmer Krom monks from jail, and to oppose the violations of Khmer Krom human rights. On Monday, the Vietnamese embassy in Cambodia cannot be contacted to obtain its reaction about the protest of Khmer Krom people in this land problem. A Khmer Krom man representing the protesters said the protesters count 120 people who have decided to stop all their work in order to travel to present their demands, even if the travel by foot for the more than 300-kilometer distance will take them several days. They are determined to endure the scorching sun, and one woman passed out and could not continue the march. In February of this year, the Vietnamese authority arrested 5 Khmer Krom monks and threw them in jail after they defrocked 16 Khmer Krom monks in total. The action taken by the Vietnamese authority was in response to Khmer Krom monks demand for their open freedom to practice their Cambodian religious belief, their Cambodian customs, and the right to celebrate Cambodian religious festivals. Cambodian government officials, including Heng Samrin (the former president of the Vietnamese-installed puppet regime), considered the Khmer Krom problem as an internal issue of Vietnam. Several petition pleas sent by Khmer Krom people to Heng Samrin asking him to broach this issue with Nguyen Phu Trong, the Vietnamese Assembly President who was then visiting Cambodia, were all dismissed by Heng Samrin. Vietnam promised that minority people can freely travel to the US embassy in Hanoi Several reports from various sources indicated that Vietnam is accused and condemned of human rights violations not only against Khmer Krom people, but also aginst all other minority people living in Vietnam, including the Montagnard people. In February 2007, the Vietnamese government promised to Ellen Sauerbrey, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, that minority people can freely travel to US embassy in Hanoi.
June 17, 2007 By Mike Benge The Washington Times (USA) Last Tuesday, June 12, President Bush spoke at the dedication of the Victims of Communism Memorial that honors the memories of those killed in communist regimes. He said their deaths should remind the American public “evil is real and must be confronted.” Ironically, this Friday, June 22, President Bush will honor the president of a tyrannical communist regime that murdered over a million Vietnamese and ethnic minorities with a White House visit during which he has the opportunity to confront that evil. Recently, dozens of democracy activists, journalists, cyber-dissidents and Christian and other religious leaders were arrested and imprisoned by the Vietnamese communists. Congressional leaders and human-rights groups have charged Hanoi with “unbridled human-rights abuses,” the “worst wave of oppression in 20 years.” Those recently arrested are but a few of the hundreds of political and religious prisoners in Vietnam; some have been tried, while those less visible simply “disappeared.” This mounting crackdown is a deliberate diplomatic slap in the face of the United States. Hanoi brazenly aired on TV the kangaroo court trial of Thaddeus Nguyen Van Father Ly, who was muzzled during the proceedings. In Vietnamese, the colloquial phrase for censorship is “bit mieng” — to cover the mouth. The picture of Father Ly’s muzzling seems a literal enactment of an old cliche. Denied representation, Father Ly was sentenced to eight years imprisonment. Mr. Bush’s endorsement for Hanoi’s admission into the World Trade Organization at last year’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Hanoi, the removal of Vietnam from listed as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC), and the granting of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) were all predicated on the Communist Party substantially improving its human-rights record. It should come as no surprise that after the granting of these privileges, the Vietnamese communists continued and intensified their repression. Though Vietnam professes great strides in religious freedom, one must look under the veneer to seek the truth. For example, in 2006, the Vietnamese government claimed that “25 denominations” had received certificates to carry on religious activities, when in fact they were only individual house churches. The price of these certificates is the surrender of religious freedom. The church must submit to the central Bureau of Religious Affairs (CBA) a list of the names and addresses of members, and only those approved by the CBA can attend services. All sermons must be approved by the CBA, and all sermons, including those of minorities, must be given in Vietnamese. Pastors and priests can neither deviate from the approved sermon nor proselytize, and the CBA police monitor all services. Montagnards, Hmong and other Christians, Khmer Krom Monks, members of the Cao Dai faith, and Hoa Hao are still relentlessly persecuted. This is what Hanoi calls religious freedom, and the U.S. administration was naive enough to believe them and removed them from the Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list of countries that suppress religious freedom. Recently, the Vietnamese communist regime demanded of the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues the cancellation of scheduled films to be screened at the May 22 forum. One film, “Hunted Like Animals,” sponsored by the Hmong-Lao Human Rights Council depicted the genocide against the Hmong, and the other film depicted human-rights abuses against the Khmer Krom by the Vietnamese communists. It should come as no surprise that the United Nations acquiesced to the demands of the repressive Hanoi regime. Reminiscent of the days of slavery in the “Old South,” Montagnards who flee from repression in the Central Highlands are hunted down like wild animals. Vietnam pays bounties to Cambodian police for every Montagnard they catch and turn over to them. Vietnam considers refugees seeking asylum in another country to have violation its national security, punishable by imprisonment for up to 15 years. Recently, three Montagnards were arrested by Cambodian police and charged with “human trafficking” for the so-called crime of aiding other Montagnards to flee the repression in Vietnam via the Montagnards’ “underground railroad.” Although Cambodia does little to stop the trafficking of children for prostitution, the communist regime is prosecuting these Montagnards on Vietnam’s request in hopes it will convince the U.S. it is serious about trafficking. Vietnam pulls the strings of the marionette Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Reports continue from behind the curtain of silence drawn around the Central Highlands of the torture and deaths of Montagnard Christians. During a February trip to Hanoi, Ellen Sauerbrey, assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration, told a press conference that the Vietnamese officials assured her that Montagnards can freely travel to the Embassy in Hanoi or the Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City to voice any grievances. She said Montagnards should stay in Vietnam and not seek asylum in Cambodia. Given the Vietnamese communists history of repression and broken promises, how can Mrs. Sauerbrey be naive enough to believe Montagnards suffering persecution would ever to be allowed through the phalanx of Vietnamese police surrounding the U.S. Embassy and Consulate? As predicted, Hanoi has announced the release of a few token high-profile political prisoners in an attempt to smooth the way for the arrival of Vietnam’s President Triet, and in hopes of placating President Bush, the State Department and Congress. Can this administration be gullible enough to fall for yet another charade by the Vietnamese communists? President Bush, keeping faith in the spirit of the Victims of Communism Memorial that “evil is real and must be confronted,” should demand of Vietnam’s president the release of all of the hundreds of political prisoners including those recently arrested and the more than 350 Christian Montagnards that seem to have been forgotten by this administration. Mike Benge is an advocate for human rights and religious freedom in South East Asia.
11 June 2007 By Sophorn – Radio Free Asia – Translated from Khmer by Heng Soy A representative of Khmer Kampuchea Krom people and Khmer Krom organizations claimed that his group will ask for the King’s intervention so that they can organize a Dhammayieta Walk for Peace, following the rejection to their demands by the Ministry of Interior (MoI). Monk Yoeung Sin, President of the Khmer Krom Monks Association, said that after his meeting with MoI and Phnom Penh municipality officials on Monday, they refused to allow Khmer Krom monks and people to organize the planned Dhammayietra Walk for Peace. Monk Yoeung Sin said that this was done to restrict the people’s right to express their opinion. “Both the MoI and the city said that monks have no right to organize the Dhammayietra or anything else. We will find a way so that we can organize it,” Monk Yoeung Sin said. Ang Chanrith, executive director of the Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Human Rights Organization, told RFA on Monday that it was because the MoI’s refusal to allow the Dhammayietra, Khmer Krom organizations are preparing letters to send to the king to ask for his intervention in this case. Ang Chanrith said: “We cannot organize it, we asked to organize (the Dhammayietra) last Sunday, (but our demand was rejected) because of the negative reply from the MoI provided by H.E. Khieu Sopheak.” However, Khieu Sopheak, MoI spokesman, clarified the case by saying that he was only applying the law, and regarding the request to organize the Dhammayietra by Khmer Krom monks and organizations, those who asked for the authorization did not follow the law, they must ask the authorization from the local authorities along the path of the walk first. Khieu Sopheak said: “In summary, they did not do according to the law. If they follow the law, there would be nothing wrong. The law said that they should ask the authorization from the local authorities of the communes the Dhammayietra is crossing through, from Phnom Penh to Oudong, in every communes they are crossing.” Chan Saveth, an Adhoc human rights official, said that usually, the Cambodian authority never authorized Khmer Krom to organize demonstrations to demand for their freedom. He said that this is a lack of respect for democracy. The Khmer Krom association, along with the Khmer Krom Monks Association and Khmer Krom Student Monks Association, plan to organize a Dhammayietra Walk for peace from Phnom Penh to Oudong with the participation of about 1,000 monks and laymen last Sunday, in order to pray for the peace for Khmer Krom people and monks who are currently living in the former lands of Kampuchea Krom (South Vietnam). The walk was organized because, recently, the Hanoi’s regime defrocked and sentenced to jail several Khmer Krom monks who participated in a demonstration opposing them. The Dhammayietra was canceled after Phnom Penh refused to give its authorization.
On Sunday, June 24, 2007, from 6:30PM – 9:00PM, the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) will organize the second annual march for Human Rights from the UN Plaza to Herbst Theatre to commemorate the creation of the United Nations (June 26, 1945). The Hawaii Institute for Human Rights, Amnesty International USA, and United Nations Association – USA will also participate with KKF to commemorate the UN Charter at its founding site. Please come and join us to commemorate this historical event. Click here for map details
Khmer Krom Radio Under Way Ratana Seng Phnom Penh 05/06/2007 The Voice of Khmer Krom, a radio program solely for the Khmer Kampuchea Krom ethnic group, is up and running, creators of the program said Tuesday. Ang Chanrith, director of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Human Rights Organization, said a one-hour program, broadcast each day on FM90 mHz, focused on three issues: programs from local communities; equality forums and discussions; and practical living advice. A radio program specifically for the group was necessary, he said, because they have specific problems. Khmer Kampuchea Krom have difficulties finding jobs, often face discrimination and have no permanent domiciles, Ang Chanrith said. They also have difficulty obtaining identification cards, he said. Authorities were supportive of the effort and sympathetic to the plight of the group, he said. A Khmer Kampuchea Krom woman named Sareoun told VOA Khmer she had been listening to the station for nearly a month and hoped it would continue into the future. “Khmer Kampuchea Krom people suffer a lot,” she said. Source: VOA
SRP Lawmaker Pushes for Khmer Krom IDs Mony, VOA Khmer Original report from Phnom Penh 07/06/2007 Opposition lawmaker Keo Remy issued a letter to National Assembly leadership Thursday requesting ID cards be made easier to obtain for members of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom ethnic group. The group, some of whom held a somber ceremony Wednesday for the loss of their area to Vietnam, faces discrimination in both countries and has difficulty securing identification that would enable them to work, send their children to school and own property. Keo Ramy addressed his request to Interior Minister Sar Kheng, who is also the deputy prime minister. “Please your excellencies, the Khmer Kampuchea Krom are also Cambodians,” added SRP legislator Yim Sovan. “Please push for them to have ID cards or residency cards, in case they can get the right to live in Cambodia. This is a request.” Sar Kheng said everyone knows the Khmer Krom are different, but there was “no big problem” over ID cards, as long as they showed they were Cambodian. Source: VOA
Historical data documented by Ly Phuoc Khoa Nam. It is very difficult to understand how Soc Trang Province is founded without, first of all, understand how the country of the present-day Vietnam is founded. Vietnam reaches its geographically current size around the year 1757. A narrow “S”-shaped land strip of 1,650 kilometers (1,025 stature miles) long, and it, perhaps, inevitably divides into three major regions – northern, central and southern. It is ruled by different kingdoms and rival factions over its long and complicate history – noticeably, the Vietnamese rule the northern region, the Champa Kingdom in the central, and the Khmers in the Mekong delta (southern region). In 1471, the armies of the Vietnamese Later Le Dynasty (1428-1788) conquer most of the kingdom of Champa in the central region, and this territorial expansion keeps pushing further to the south, which eventually leads to capturing the Khmer territory of Mekong delta. One of the most historically important and long separations in the history of Vietnam begins in the year 1620 when the noble Nguyen Family (1558-1778) ruling in the central and south, and the Trinh Family (1539-1787) ruling in the north, nurture feuding governments. Years of civil conflicts and unrests finally result in a relatively stable period of re-unification, beginning in 1802, when the military ruler Nguyen Anh (1762-1820) proclaims himself as emperor under the royal name of Gia Long (this name signifies the unification of the southern capital city Gia Dinh (today’s Sai Gon) and the northern capital city Thang Long (today’s Ha Noi). Nguyen Anh establishes his ruling control, and resides in Hue – the capital city of Viet Nam during this period of time. Hence, the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945), or also referred to as Hue Court, begins.
In 1658, it marks the beginning of transferring ruling power from the Chan Lap (Khmer) to the Vietnamese government under the Nguyen Family ruling era (Lord Nguyen Phuc Tan, or also known as Hien Vuong (1620-1687)), Vietnamese people from the central region migrate to the south to claim new lands in Moi Xoai (Ba Ria) and Dong Nai (Bien Hoa). Chan Lap King Ramma Thuppdey Chan (Nac Ong Chan), (the maternal grandson of Lord Nguyen Phuc Nguyen (1563-1635), or also known as the son of the Vietnamese Princess Nguyen Thi Ngoc Van and Chan Lap King Prea Chey Chetta II), is in submission (paying contribution for protection) to the Lord Nguyen Court, and has been appointed to protect the Vietnamese immigrants in his territorial jurisdiction. Ba Thac is the official name of the present-day Soc Trang during this period of time. “Ba Thac” is the name of a Khmer official, as phonetically pronounced in Chinese-transcribed Vietnamese language (the old official language of Vietnam as opposed to the present-day official Vietnamese which is an adapted version of the Latin alphabet with additional diacritics for tones). The Khmers phonetically pronounce his name as “Neak or Nea Basak”, and French calls him as “Bassac”. On the contradictory belief, he has been thought to be a prince of Laos. As of unknown reason(s) or cause(s), he happens to reside and later die in this area, and a memorial shrine has been built at this location in memory of him. This shrine is called “The Ba Thac Ancient Shrine” or phonetically pronounced in Khmer language as “Vat Luong Bassac”, and it is, in the present-day, physically located on the area along the road that leads to Tham Don of My Xuyen District. The shrine, in its original form, is built with woods in Khmer architectural style. In 1927, Mr. Le Van Quanh, a Chinese descent, and his fellow township men have donated money to re-build the shrine. It has been re-built in Chinese architectural style, with an implementation of the so-called form “half modern-half ancient”, which, in no doubt, has caused the loss of the historical authenticity or originality. Ba Thac, comprising of the present-day regions of Soc Trang and Bac Lieu, is one of the four provinces of the Chan Lap. Ba Thac is under the ruling power of a provincial governor or called “Snet Phubal” (as phonetically pronounced in Khmer language), and this high ranking official is appointed by the Highest Ministry of War of the Chan Lap government. Ba Thac comprises of five districts, and each district is controlled by a district chief or called “Krapea”. Following are the five districts of Ba Thac and their appointed chiefs: a) The first district chief, Oknha Thuk Sena, controls Tra Nho (phonetically pronounced in Khmer language as “Chui Nhua”), Tra Cuon (Prek Tra Cuon) and Bac Lieu (Po Leo) – which all these areas are known as the present-day Vinh Chau, Tra Cuon and Bac Lieu Metropolis. b) The second district chief, Oknha Thuk Sang Keam, controls Rach Goi (Prek Koi) and Bai Xau, which are known as today’s Long Phu and My Xuyen. c) The third district chief, Oknha Montrey Auchit, controls Xoai Ca Na (Sraiume or Swaichrume) and Beng Kok, which now are known as Dai Tam and Bung Coc. d) The fourth district chief, Oknha Montrey Sncha, controls Ksach, Peam Mosenn and Srok Khl’eang – which all now become the present-day Ke Sach, Dai Ngai and Soc Trang Metropolis. e) The fifth district chief, Oknha Vo Gsa Satroy, controls the areas of the Cai Giay Rivulet Mouth and Ca Mau River. In this region, there are two villages called Chau Hung and Chau Thoi, which are the present-day Thanh Tri and some vicinities of Bac Lieu. Snet Phubal controls all five districts of Ba Thac. At a later time, a Khmer king appoints a military leader called “Chauvai Srok” (phonetically pronounced in Khmer language), as an assistant to Snet Phubal, to be in charge of military personnel. Chauvai Srok is responsible for fighting against sea pirates from Malaysia and India, who repeatedly abduct Vietnamese fishermen along the coastal regions of Rach Goi, Tra Nho and Bac Lieu, and ship them out of the country. As time passing by, the appointed Chauvai Srok infringes upon the ruling authority of Snet Phubal. The Chauvai Srok, whose official name is Lam, is also known by popular every-day folks as Lim, controls the present-day Soc Trang region, and gives orders for excavating lands to make many irrigation canals – noticeably the present-day Bung Coc Canal in Phu My village and Ta Lim Canal. In 1827, Lim rebels against the ruling authority, and that stirs up a big civil instability in Bung Trop (presently located on the northwest area and about 6 kilometers (3.7 stature miles) from the Soc Trang Metropolis, or near the An Trach 3-way intersection and a little bit off to the west of the national highway connecting Soc Trang Province with Can Tho City). In April of 1840, there is a civil conflict between the Khmers and the Vietnamese. A military fort is built by the Vietnamese in Bai Xau (Srok Bai Chau), and they put up a fight against the Khmers in Mahatup (later known as Ma Toc), which belongs to Giong Hoa Duc. The Khmers get defeated in the conflict. In September of 1840, Vietnamese troops defeat the Khmers in Tra Vinh, and momentously push the cause to defeat Lim and his personnel in Soc Trang. Lim loses the fight, and then retreats to Chan Lap. The following year, in 1841, the bubonic epidemic breaks out, and that kills a lot of people in this region. In this period of time, a little child is traded for just a bucket of rice grain – measured roughly 30 kilograms (66 pounds) in mass.
In 1674, Nac Ong Non (Ang Non) inherits the heirloom from Nac Ong Chan, but his rival Prince Nac Ong Dai asks the Siamese (Thailand) Kingdom for military assistance to dethrone him from the Chan Lap Kingdom. Nac Ong Non abandons his post, and takes refuge in the palace of Thai Khanh (Khanh Hoa). He asks the Vietnamese Lord Nguyen Hien Vuong for military assistance to restore his ruling power in Chan Lap. Lord Nguyen appoints two of his military leaders, Nha Trang Renown Military Commander Nguyen Duong Lam and Nguyen Dinh Phat, independently in charge of two separate divisions that march to the south to take on Nac Ong Dai and his military personnel. This military expedition leads to the demolition of Fort Sai Gon, and then moves on to the citadel of Phnom Penh. Nac Ong Dai abandons his palace, and flees to the forest – only to die later. Nac Ong Thu surrenders to the Vietnamese authority. As determined by the royal genealogy, Nac Ong Thu is the son of the king’s first wife, so that makes him to inherit the highest office. He is selected to be the Highest King of Chan Lap, and rules in Long Uc (Long Vek). Nac Ong Non is selected to be the Second Highest King of Chan Lap, and rules in Sai Gon. Chan Lap kings are in submission to the Vietnamese Nguyen Court, and are due to pay contributions annually. From this period of time and on, as routinely and as frequently it happens in every so-many years, the Chan Lap Royal Families has been fighting among themselves for ruling power. The Nguyen Court in the central region, consequently, has been asked to intervene and to help in establishing laws and orders in the Chan Lap Kingdom. As results of such interventions and helps, the ruling Chan Lap kings are paying the Nguyen Court with lands for such favors.
In 1698, Lord Nguyen begins appointing his high ranking officials for an aggressive territorial expedition to the south, and establishes orderly local government systems that divide ruling controls into provinces, and then into districts. Gia Dinh (Sai Gon) is the most well-established city in the south, and considered densely populated, with roughly over 1,000 square miles of land for approximately 40,000 residential families. The vast majority of lands in the south are still desolate – sparsely populated.
In 1753, Chan Lap King Nac Nguyen conspires with Lord Trinh ruling in the northern region, in secretly working out a military plan to attack the Lord Nguyen ruling in the central region. The secreted plan becomes known to Vo Vuong, and he orders Dam Am Nguyen Cu Trinh to launch a pre-emptive strike. Nac Nguyen gets defeated, flees to Ha Tien, and asks Mac Thien Tu for help. In 1756, Nac Nguyen gives up his lands in Tam Bon (today’s Chau Doc) and Loi Lap (today’s region from Xoai Rap to Dong Thap Muoi) to the Nguyen Court as redemption, and also for buying ruling power.
In 1757, Nac Nguyen dies, and Nac Nhuan presumes the ruling power. He begins giving up his lands in Tra Vang (today’s Tra Vinh) and Ba Thac (today’s regions of Soc Trang and Bac Lieu) to the Nguyen Court in exchange for a “King” title and ruling control. As the result of many rounds of lands, the regions from Tra Vinh through Ba Thac and regions of Tam Phong Long, given up by Chan Lap kings to the Nguyen Court, over the period of more than half a century (1697 – 1757), the geographical shape of the then Vietnam becomes what it is today’s, and the Nguyen Court fully establishes its complete government system over the whole southern region.
In October of 1779, Nguyen Anh gives orders for drawing map of the south and dividing it into 3 regions; namely – Tran Bien (Bien Hoa), Phien Tran (Gia Dinh) and Long Ho (Vinh Long and An Giang); with good means of communication between them. Soc Trang, during this period of time, known as Ba Thac, belongs to the region of Long Ho.
In 1820, land of Ba Thac undergoes a new round of re-mapping. It belongs to the district of Vinh Dinh, and reports to the orderly higher-ups Dinh Vien and Vinh Thanh (comprises of Soc Trang Province and Can Tho City in present time). In this period of time, there are 37 villages under Dinh Vien, lands are sparsely occupied, and population is not reported.
In 1832, King Minh Mang gives new orders of re-mapping lands. A region of Ba Xuyen is created, which comprises of what known as today’s Long Xuyen, Can Tho, Soc Trang, Ha Tien, Rac Gia, Bac Lieu, Tra Vinh and Chau Doc. Hence, the land of Ba Thac has a new name as Ba Xuyen.
In 1840, according to Mr. Truong Vinh Ky – Ba Xuyen becomes a province, also known as Soc Trang by the popular every-day folks, has been formed, and comprises of 3 districts which are Phong Nhieu (Bai Xau), Phong Thanh (Nhu Gia) and Vinh Dinh (then Ba Xuyen Metropolis). The name “Soc Trang” has not been mentioned in historical data of the Nguyen Court or by many different sources of history before the year 1840. Based on the historical data provided by Mr. Truong Vinh Ky, the name “Soc Trang” has become known only since 1840.
In 1859, French troops take over Gia Dinh Citadel, and occupy this area. Hue Court (Nguyen Dynasty), under Emperor Tu Duc, signs a peace treaty that gives up 3 eastern provinces; namely – Bien Hoa, Gia Dinh and Dinh Tuong.
In 1867, French colonists violate the peace treaty by annexing 3 western provinces which are Vinh Long, An Giang and Ha Tien. They abolish existing ruling system, and go through a new round of re-mapping lands. According to the decree signed on January 5th, 1876, the French repudiate the old mapping system called “Six Provinces of the South”. They now divide the south into 4 regions with 19 districts. In this period of time, Sai Gon and Cho Lon are the two major cities, and Soc Trang is the 19th district of the south. In 1878, Soc Trang District has a population of 56,877 persons, 11 counties, 135 villages, 5 governmental institutes, 1 school and 3 markets.
In 1915, French revamp a new round of mapping of the south. They divide it into 20 provinces, 2 major cities, 1 military commanding post in Con Dao, 40 civil administrative districts, 227 counties and 2,000 villages. Hence through 1959, the district of Vinh Chau belongs to the province of Bac Lieu. Soc Trang Province, during this period of time, has its governmental system as follows: – Provincial governmental institutes locate in Soc Trang metropolitan area. – Metropolitan Population: 135,328 Vietnamese and 67 Europeans (included military personnel). – 10 counties and 92 villages combine for a population of 32,245 persons. – Local Civil Administrative Stations locate in Phu Loc, Bang Long, Dai Ngai, Bo Thao, Nhu Gia and Bai Xau.
In 1930, Soc Trang Province divides into 3 districts as listed: – Soc Trang Metropolis District supervises the counties of Nhieu Hoa, Nhieu Khanh, Nhieu My, Nhieu Phu, Thanh An and Thanh Loi. – Ke Sach District supervises the counties of Dinh Hoa, Dinh Khanh and Dinh Tuong. – Long Phu District supervises the counties of Dinh Chi, Dinh My and Dinh Phuoc.
In 1953, Soc Trang Province comprises of 5 districts which are Soc Trang Metropolis, Ke Sach, Long Phu, Lich Hoi Thuong and Thanh Tri. It combines a total population of 118,717 persons (43,674 Vietnamese, 65,565 Khmers, 9,425 Chinese, 49 Europeans and 5 Indians), and its agricultural land combines for 121,950 hectares (or roughly 301,344 acres). This temporarily concludes the historical research about my beloved hometown of Soc Trang of its major historical events from 1658 to 1953. The geopolitics of Vietnam has affected the name and the landscape of Soc Trang Province throughout these periods of time. The country of Vietnam undergoes many different ruling regimes, and has gone through a few periods of splits and re-unifications which make this historical research a difficult task. This piece of work is based on limited historical materials that I have gathered throughout the years, and by my utmost individual effort that I can garner to produce this writing in honoring my beloved hometown. Therefore, I would like to ask for your understanding for that there would certainly be any regrettable mistake(s). Please do me a favor by pointing out mistake(s) so that I can learn and to make this writing as accurate as possible. There are footnotes of references that I have used for this work, and they are listed in the Vietnamese version of this article. Editor’s Note This document is published unedited. KKF does not endorse this document. It is published with the intention of providing a different view of history. Source: http://www.soctrang-online.net/forum/index.php?act=ST&f=104&t=5422&st=0#entry29224 Vietnamese Version: http://www.soctrang-online.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=2436