CPP Anniversary Gala an Abridged Affair

The CPP celebrated its 54th an­niversary for less than an hour Tues­day morning with flowers, pigeons, balloons and a speech by party President Chea Sim.

Some observers said the yearly bash was shorter, less festive and less well-attended than in years past, but government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said all went according to plan.

“One hour at most,” he said of an­niversary parties. “Because it gets hot.”

He declined to provide an estimate of how many people attended or how attendance compared to past anniversaries.

In his speech, Chea Sim praised the CPP for developing Cambodia and ending the civil war. He also said the party supported a Khmer Rouge tribunal.

And despite Hun Sen’s recent criticism of retired King Norodom Si­­hanouk, Chea Sim praised the work of the Supreme National Council on Border Affairs, which the re­tired King chairs.

He did, however, attack un­named critics for “turning a blind eye” to development achieved un­der the auspices of the CPP and for “talk­ing badly about their own mother­land.”

The CPP traces its roots to the foundation—largely orchestrated by Viet­namese communists—on June 28, 1951, of the Khmer Peop­le’s Re­volutionary Party, which Chea Sim said in his speech joined hands with oth­er revolutionary groups to fight colonialism.

Following independence from France, the growing popularity of then-Prince Norodom Sihanouk’s Sangkum movement and violent anti-communist crackdowns, the KPRP lost nearly 90 percent of its members, according to the His­torical Dictionary of Cambodia.

In a secret congress in September 1960, the KPRP reorganized itself as the Marxist-Leninist Workers’ Party of Kam­puchea.

In 1966, the name was again changed to the Communist Party of Kampuchea, following a visit by Pol Pot and Ieng Sary to Chi­na.

Vietnamese-supported defectors from the CPK formed the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kampuchea in 1981, and Hun Sen early on became one of the party’s leaders.

In 1991, the party anointed itself the CPP, officially abandoning Marxist-Leninism and revolutionary rhetoric as part of the 1991 Paris peace agreement.


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