21 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 10/15/2012 09:47
CAMBODIA
Former king Norodom Sianouk is dead
He was 89. His body will be brought to Cambodia, cremated and buried in the royal palace. His life contradictory sign of the history of conflict in his country: from French colony to independent country, a victim of the Vietnam War to the dictatorship of the Khmer Rouge, from Vietnamese feud to democratic country. He abdicated in 2004 in favor of his son Sihamoni. Thanks to him - and his wife - diplomatic relations with the Holy See restored, interrupted by Pol Pot.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Norodom Sianouk, former king of Cambodia, died today in a hospital in the Chinese capital, after being struck by a heart attack. The king, who spent many years in Beijing for political reasons and for treatment, was 89 years old.

In accordance with his wishes, his body will be cremated and taken to Cambodia. His ashes will be buried in the royal palace of Phonm Penh. His assistant, Prince Sisowath Thomico, pointed out that his sovereign relative died on the last day of Pchum Ben, the feast of the dead. Although he abdicated in 2004 in favor of his son Norodom Sihamoni, the figure of the king was still very popular in the country, and considered almost a deity especially in the rural world.

During his last period in Cambodia - thanks to the intervention of his wife, Queen Monique - he reopened diplomatic relations with the Holy See (1994), confirming the steps towards religious freedom of the Catholic Church, which began a few years earlier.

Prince Thomiko said that the life of Sianouk "belongs to Cambodia and to history." In fact, his life reflected all the contradictions and hopes of the country, which in the past few decades, went from being a French colony to first a military, then communist dictatorship, and finally a budding democracy.

Born October 31, 1922 by King Norodom Suramarit, in 1941 Sianouk was crowned prince by the French, who hoped to be able to dominate him. But after the war he began a campaign for the independence of his country, obtained in 1953. He then abdicated in favor of his father, assuming the post of prime minister. He was famous for his constant and continuous resignations followed by returns to power.

In the '60s and '70s the country was involved in the Cold War fought on Vietnamese soil and then throughout Indochina. In '1970, Lon Nol, one of his generals, supported by the United States, seized power and Sianouk fled to Beijing. Here - thanks to China - he formed an alliance with the Khmer Rouge. In 1975 the Khmer Rouge of Pol Pot took control of Cambodia. Sianouk returned as king, but was placed under house arrest in his palace, as the country suffered under the Communist dictatorship that killed nearly 2 million people. Later, Sianouk condemned the actions of the Khmer Rouge.

In 1979 the Vietnamese defeated the Khmer Rouge in the period of uncertainty, Sianouk fled to Beijing, to return to Cambodia in 1993, with the advent of a democratic state, sponsored by the UN. In the last years of his stay in the country he sought to resolve the divisions and struggles between various factions - including that of his son Norodom Ranariddh - and the strong man Hun Sen, but without much success. In 2004 he abdicated in favor of his son Sihamoni and often lived in Pyongyang or Beijing.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing condolences for the death of Sianouk, described as "a great friend of the Chinese people."

 


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
05/05/2006 CAMBODIA
Judges for trial of Khmer Rouge leaders selected
10/17/2012 CAMBODIA - CHINA
Phnom Penh awaits the corpse of King Sihanouk, a week of national mourning
02/01/2013 CAMBODIA
Phnom Penh, tens of thousands in emotional farewell to King Sihanouk
10/18/2012 CAMBODIA
Phnom Penh: Catholics hold vigils and prayers in memory of King Sihanouk
03/03/2007 CAMBODIA
King inaugurates hotel school run by Salesians

Editor's choices
ITALY - ASIA
Easter, victory over death and impotence
by Bernardo Cervellera
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.