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In April 1975, the Khmer Rouge (KR), a communist guerilla force, was victorious in Cambodia's 5-year-long civil war under the leadership of a former schoolteacher using the pseudonym Pol Pot. Almost at once, and without explaining their rationale, the KR forcibly emptied Cambodia's towns and cities; abolished money, schools, private property, courts of law, and markets; forbade religious practices; expelled foreigners and closed embassies; and set almost everybody to work in the countryside growing food. The country's entire population was forced to relocate to agricultural labor camps, a process of resettlement and political retribution in which many died in what are today referred to as the “killing fields.” Everyone was forced to work 12 to 14 hours a day, every day. Children were separated from ...

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