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Ex-King Mocks Khmer Rouges on Buddhism and Monk Respect Changes

Former King Norodom Sihanouk mocks the Khmer Rouges for looking toward Buddhism, while their 1975-1979 regime banned this national religion, and killed Buddhist monks.

This practice sparks criticisms from international community and considers this regime brutal and authoritarian.

This criticism was made after former Khmer Rouge commander, Ta Mok, died last Friday, and his family members were allowed to have his body blessed by several Buddhist monks, and have Buddhist funeral for him.

In July 23rd article in French posted on his personal website Wednesday, the former Monarch says that he watched TV5 in French and saw Ta Mok's Buddhist funeral.

He says that a number of former Khmer Rouge leaders now look toward Buddhism, while they mistreated the Buddhist monks during their regime, and used the Buddhist temples as pig pens.

The Khmer Rouge regime was blamed for the deaths of 1,700,000 people, including Buddhist monks, during which Buddhism was banned.

After the Khmer Rouge regime was toppled in 1979, some Khmer Rouges now adhere to Buddhism, while others believe in Christianity.

NGO Licadho's director Pung Chhiv Kek wonders about this change of position, saying they might try to put up a good front, or to repent their sins.

Opposition party's leader Sam Rainsy says that, the former Khmer Rouge leaders are not the only people who believe in Buddhism now, but sone current Cambodian leaders who were former Khmer Rouges themselve, also change their positions on religion, but that they change on the outside.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith says: what does the "wording" Khmer Rouge mean? It means Khmer (Cambodian), us Cambodians. He says that if we curse the Khmer Rouge it is like we are cursing ourselves, and that the sour palm juice can also be sweet, that it was a big lesson for [the Khmer Rouge] then, as it will be for the next generation.