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SƠN NGỌC MINH (PHẠM VĂN HUA, 1908– 1977)

Close ally of Vietnamese communists instrumental in developing communism in Cambodia during the Indochina War. Born to a Vietnamese father and a Cambodian mother, he spoke Vietnamese as fluently as his native Khmer. In the early 1930s, Son Ngoc Minh worked on the Tonle Sap in Cambodia as a fisherman. In 1936, he began collaborating with Nguyen Thanh Son in My Tho province and was increasingly attracted to radical politics. With the help of Nguyen Thanh Son, Son Ngoc Minh created something of a communist cell in Svay Rieng in 1939. During World War II, he moved to Thailand but returned to Cambodia following the ousting of the French to support Son Ngoc Thanh’s government. With the return of the French to southern Indochina in late 1945, Son Ngoc Minh took refuge in Rach Gia and renewed his collaboration with Nguyen Thanh Son. According to French intelligence, in 1948 he changed his name to Son Ngoc Minh and began reorganizing the Khmer resistance movement in cooperation with Nguyen Thanh Son. The latter relied heavily upon Son Ngoc Minh to build up a revolutionary movement in Cambodia under the guidance of the Indochinese Communist Party and in alliance with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam’s Indochinese-wide struggle against the French. Son Ngoc Minh studied in the Truong Chinh Academy in Rach Gia sometime in the late 1940s, the equivalent of the Nguyen Ai Quoc Academy in the north. He led the Cambodian Resistance Government and the Revolutionary Party created in 1950 in collaboration with the Vietnamese. He attended the Geneva Conference as an observer and was repatriated when the subsequent Geneva Accords failed to provide the Cambodian Resistance Government with regrouping zones. See also SIEU HENG; MÉTIS; PARTY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE; KHMER KROM.