This new book by Ian Harris, Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Cumbria, UK, explores the fate of Buddhism before, during, and shortly after Democratic Kampuchea. Prum Phalla of the Documentation Center of Cambodia provided research assistance on this project.

Dr. Harris begins with an examination of Buddhism under Sihanouk and Lon Nol, and then traces the origins of Khmer Communism and its relationship with Buddhism in Cambodia. He then looks at the fate of Buddhism early in the regime, including monk evacuations and flights abroad, defrocking, forced marriage, military service, and executions. The practice of Buddhism during the regime is also examined, including Buddhist rites and the fate of pagodas, images, and religious texts. Dr. Harris weighs the claims of monk deaths and pagodas destroyed during Democratic Kampuchea against his findings from extensive interviews and documentary research. He concludes that there was no policy for the systematic liquidation of monks in Democratic Kampuchea.

Funding for this project was generously provided by the Swedish International Development Agency. Support for DC-Cam’s operations is provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Swedish International Development Agency (Sida).