Cambodia Apes Vietnam in Its War on Religion

The axiom "monkey see, monkey do" comes to mind in a recent incident at the Buddhist Temple Wat Kanteyaram (Eastern United Temple Foundation of Jacksonville Inc.).  The Cambodian Buddhist community rallied in Jacksonville Florida on November 29 through December 1, 2013 to protest "The Great Supreme Patriarch," Tep Vong, who was to officiate at the Temple's sacred Seima Kam Buddhist sanctification ceremony.  The community was adamant that the sanctification would be desecrated by Tep Vong's presence, since he stands accused of a litany of human rights abuses that make him ineligible to preside over the ceremony.  Prime Minister Hun Sen had honored him with this ostentatious title as head monk in Cambodia as a reward for his loyalty to the communist kleptocracy there.

The Jacksonville temple's Abbott, Yieng Meng Kry, who invited Tep Vong to officiate at the ceremony, is his adherent and received his appointment at Wat Kanteyaram by him.  The abbot reports on all temple activities and any rumors that might be overheard there to Tep Vong in Cambodia. 

Tep Vong reportedly held the position of the intelligence and religious operations officer for the "Vietnamese Khmer Rouge."  The group, whose loyalty was to Hanoi, occupied the Eastern zone of Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror and genocide.  Although most of the atrocities have been allegedly committed by the Pol Pot faction of the Khmer Rouge in the Western zone, this is not true; an ample number were also committed by the Vietnamese Khmer Rouge who commanded the Eastern Zone.

During the Khmer Rouge reign of terror, nearly all the Cambodian Monks were murdered, and the Buddhist religious structure was destroyed.  In 1979, Vietnam invaded Cambodia in an attempt to colonize that country and occupied it for 10 years.  Just before retreating, the Vietnamese occupiers had Tep Vong ordained by two Vietnamese "faux" monks from a different Buddhist discipline.  He was subsequently appointed as the head monk in Cambodia.  Tep Vong's first proclamation was that "religion is at the service of the Party" (i.e., communist regime).  The irony is that with the exception of the "false flag" Buddhists and their so-called "temples," the Vietnamese communist regime does not recognize Buddhism as a legal religion. 

Tep Vong's more recent human rights violations include:

  • Betrayal of his vows and of the Buddhist Canon by ordering the arrest of the Venerable Tim Sakhorn, Abbot of the North Phnom-Denh temple in Takeo province on June 30, 2007, on false charges, and delivering him to a foreign country (Vietnam). The charge was that Tim Sakhorn gave refuge to Khmer Krom refugees fleeing persecution in Vietnam, which supposedly endangered the national security of that country. At the request of the Vietnamese, Tep Vong defrocked Tim Sakhorn and delivered him to them. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, tortured repeatedly, and deprived of adequate substance. After 22 months, Tim Sakhorn escaped to freedom.

  • Collusion in the murder of Venerable Eang Sok Thoeun and prohibiting his funeral from being held in any of the temples.

  • Failing to respond to the murder of 27 monks in 1997, and to the more recent beatings, disappearances, and murders of monks throughout the country.

The Cambodian community in Jacksonville considered it heresy to have such a person as Tep Vong consecrate this temple.

The adage, "As Vietnam goes, so goes Laos and Cambodia" evolved during the Vietnam War due to the large number of Vietnamese troops stationed in both countries, with Vietnamese "advisors" who controlled and commanded indigenous troops fighting and manipulated the politicks of those countries.  "The more things change, the more they remain the same."

Communist Vietnam created a similar crisis in July 2012 among Montagnard Protestants in North Carolina.  There, a Vietnamese communist government agent named Siu Kim ingratiated himself with the South Atlantic district superintendent of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church (CMA), who then appointed Siu Kim as the pastor of the First Montagnard Alliance Church (FMAC) in Raleigh, NC.  CMA did this without consultation with church elders, thus disregarding church bylaws.  Using the Church as a bully pulpit, Siu Kim began denouncing leaders within the Montagnard community, as reported in a previous American Thinker article.

Preaching with venom from the pulpit, Siu Kim verbally attacked the members of the Montagnard Human Rights Organization, composed largely of former resistance fighters, stating that "MHRO works for the devil."  Montagnard refugees and church members in North Carolina who had participated in the peaceful 2001 protests in the Central Highlands for religious freedom and against human rights abuses knew that Siu Kim was part of the draconian religious police apparatus in the Central Highlands and was the pastor of the "Potemkin" communist-controlled church in Pleiku.  According to government regulations, to become a pastor, a person must pledge to put the State (i.e., communism) before God.

Several had witnessed as Siu Kim joined with police and government officials in raiding and burning House Churches (i.e., members' homes) in Pleiku province, and in conducting searches for Montagnards who had participated in the mass protests.  For several years, Siu Kim had also provided disinformation to the American Embassy and the department minimizing the extent of the religious persecution of the Montagnards.

The Montagnards abandoned the CMA-controlled FMA Church and formed a new independent one named Anak Cu Chiang (Children of the Mountains Church).

Few people realize that Ho Chi Minh was not a Vietnamese nationalist, as touted, but was a Comintern agent sent from Moscow with orders to create communist movements throughout S.E. Asia -- among them the Indochinese communist party (not just a Vietnamese communist party).  Under this banner, he and the other Vietnamese party members created the Khmer Rouge.  Later, the Khmer Rouge split into two factions, one controlled by the xenophobic Pol Pot, who took control of the region west of the Mekong, and the "Vietnamese Khmer Rouge" loyal to Hanoi, which controlled the Eastern Zone.  The latter group was a mix of former Vietminh forces (mostly Vietnamese) and Khmer Krom conscripts from the Mekong Delta region of southern Cambodia, which had been ceded to Vietnam by French colonial authorities in 1949, and Vietnamese, Khmer, and mixed-blood Vietnamese-Khmer living in Cambodia.  All were taken to Hanoi for indoctrination and military training, armed, and sent to operate in Eastern Cambodia.  During the Vietnam War and the reign of terror, Hanoi maintained three divisions of "Vietnamese Khmer Rouge," which received supplies and troop replacements from Vietnamese mainline forces, to fight non-communist forces in Cambodia.

The author interviewed a number of Cambodian refugees who escaped the Pol Pot Khmer Rouge's Western push of Phnom Penh's residents by fleeing east toward Vietnam.  They reported sleeping in a number of "killing fields" in the Eastern Zone as they escaped.

In an October 30, 1989 "Taking Exception" article in the Washington Post, one of these refugees, Saren Thach, told of the murder of his brother, wife, son, and baby daughter in one of these killing fields by Eastern Zone troops under "Vietminh Khmer Rouge" commander Heng Samrin and regimental commander Hun Sen (the present prime minister of Cambodia), who operated in the Northeastern province of Kompong Cham.  Their murder was witnessed by his wife's brother who later managed to escape.  "In July 1973, during the battle to relieve the provincial capital, my Special Forces unit was sent to relieve the garrison at Kompong Cham, which had been under siege by Hun Sen's troops for three weeks.  They discovered hundreds of bodies of men, women and Children, young and old, including Buddhist monks, from villages near the provincial capital who had been first tortured and then killed - some executed by a gunshot to the back of the head, others chopped to death with hoes, still others strangled to death or suffocated by plastic bags tied over their heads."

According to the Washington Post (Sept. 10, 1973), "[f]rom day one, they and the troops under their command killed indiscriminately anyone in their way, and when overrunning two hospitals, Heng Samrin's and Hun Sen's troops threw hand grenades and later slit the throats of critically ill patients."  

In 1981, Heng Samrin became the secretary-general of the People's Revolutionary Party; however, when Hun Sen became Prime Minister in 1985 Heng was demoted to the post of honorary chairman of Hun Sen's Cambodian People's (communist) Party.

Vietnam has Fatherland Front associations in every provincial capital in Cambodia and has advisors in every division of the Cambodian government, including the Ministry of Religion.  Vietnam provides training for Achas (who liaise between the public and the monks in Cambodian temples) as well as for false monks sent by Tep Vong to infiltrate all temples in Cambodia and many overseas, such as the one in Jacksonville.  To adhere to Cambodian Buddhism, monks who are assigned to temples outside of the country must first have the approval of the head monk in Cambodia, who unfortunately at the present is Tep Vong.

And the band plays on.