Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

China and the Pol Pot Regime

Cold War History Vol. 14, No. 2, 2014

28 Pages Posted: 24 May 2013 Last revised: 21 Aug 2015

John D. Ciorciari

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

Date Written: May 23, 2013

Abstract

This article attempts to shed additional light on one of the most sensitive aspects of China’s Cold War legacy — its support for Pol Pot’s Democratic Kampuchea (DK) between April 1975 and January 1979. Drawing on field interviews with former Khmer Rouge cadres and official DK records, it examines how the terms of the Sino-DK entente were understood by the parties and affected Chinese influence on the ground. The evidence shows that despite providing important technical guidance, China developed little influence over high-level Khmer Rouge policies, even when such policies put China’s own interests at risk. The Sino-DK relationship illustrates the capacity of weak states to exercise considerable autonomy in asymmetric alliances and some of the dangers of relatively unconditional great-power assistance.

Keywords: China, Cambodia, Khmer Rouge, Cold War, alliances

Suggested Citation

Ciorciari, John D., China and the Pol Pot Regime (May 23, 2013). Cold War History Vol. 14, No. 2, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2269301

John David Ciorciari (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy ( email )

735 South State Street, Weill Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
204
Rank
125,994
Abstract Views
744