Translated and annotated by Miao Miao 苗渺
Cambodian Comrade-in-Arms, Beijing Welcomes You!
This joyful harvest season celebrates both the 28th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China and the 27th anniversary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea. Hearts brimming with jubilance, the Chinese people welcomes the envoy of the Cambodian people. The Cambodian delegation headed by Comrade Pol Pot arrived today in Beijing on an official visit of friendship, bringing the Communist Party of Kampuchea and Cambodian people’s deep feelings of camaraderie to the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people.
At the capital airport, drums and gongs thundered the heavens. Fresh flowers wreathed Tiananmen Square, colorful flags soared along Changan Avenue, and teeming crowds danced before the official guesthouse. The passionate atmosphere of shared struggle uniting the two countries seeped through all of Beijing. The People’s Daily‘s published the welcoming editorial with a portrait of Comrade Pol Pot on its most visible spot. Articles detailing the Cambodian people’s revolution and development blanketed newspapers. Cinemas are screening the technicolor epic Democratic Kampuchea and TV stations are broadcasting prosperous scenes of today’s Cambodia.
Warm-hearted Beijing workers, in welcoming our Cambodian comrades-in-arms, composed a poem:
Perform a dance of joy
Sing a paean of friendship
Warmly welcome Comrade Pol Pot
Warmly welcome esteemed Cambodian guests
Words of love soar from our hearts
Hands of passion we extend to our comrades-in-arms
The love between our peoples are that of brothers
Shoulder to shoulder, we fight to songs of triumph
The Chinese people are very familiar, very understanding, and very admiring of the heroic Cambodian people. When the resilient, battle-worthy Cambodians, under the leadership of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, engaged in bloody struggle for the nation’s liberation from American invaders and running dogs, 800 million people’s blood boiled alongside that of the Cambodian people. When the Cambodian people finally won and established Cambodia’s first proletarian government where the people are the masters, letting Cambodia victoriously embark on the road of socialism, 800 million cheers mixed vibrantly with those of the Cambodian people. When the Cambodian people swiftly healed from the wounds of war, rebuilt their country and sent out news of mighty achievements, how happy were the 800 million people! Shared historical fate, shared revolutionary principles and shared struggle bind us closely together, for we are comrades-in-arms and genuine brothers!
Pol Pot’s plane appeared in the dazzling sky. Amidst the hurrahs and friendly gaze of the people, the plane landed at the airport. The doors swung open. By the staircase, Chairman Hua Guofeng and other Chinese leaders warmly shook hands with and embraced Pol Pot and other Cambodian leaders. This was precisely three o’clock in the afternoon. This scene of friendship marks an unforgettable moment in Sino-Cambodian history.
Face wreathed with smiles, Comrade Pol Pot, accompanied by Comrade Hua Guofeng in the same car, arrived at Tiananmen Square. The word “Welcome” formed by thousands of golden flowers festooned the viewing platforms on either side of Tiananmen. A sea of colorful balloons was released into the air. The people cheered and danced. The grand, solemn Tiananmen Square is the symbol of revolution, and today, it opens its embrace, expressing its respect to the savior of the Cambodian people.
The motorcade of our Cambodian comrades-in-arms drove through the capital’s long-winding, holiday-decorated avenues. People on both sides warmly waved in respect. Esteemed Cambodian comrades-in-arms, your motorcade is driving through a sea of friendship. All of the capital’s people are expressing their respect to the battle-seasoned Cambodian people, and sincerely wishing you to achieve new heights in your socialist revolution and development.
Rivers flow to friendship eternal. In the anti-imperialist, anti-colonial, anti-hegemonist struggle, in the construction and development of our respective countries, let the Chinese and Cambodian peoples fight shoulder to shoulder, eternally forward!
Original Chinese text
Becker, Elizabeth. Pol Pot Remembered, BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/81048.stm, 1998.
Burchett, Wilfred. The China, Cambodia, Vietnam Triangle. Zed Books, 1981.
Haing Ngor. A Cambodian Odyssey. Macmillan, New York, 1987.
Kiernan, Ben. The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power, and Genocide in Cambodia Under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-79. Yale University Press, 2008.
Li, Danhui. Sihanouk, “Pol Pot and China in the 1960s-70s” in National Humanities History China Vol 11, Academic Journal Electronic Publishing House, 2013.
McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media, Routledge, London, 1964.
Mittler, Barbara. “Popular Propaganda? Art and Culture in Revolutionary China” in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 152 no. 4, 2008.
Osborne, Milton. Sihanouk Prince of Light, Prince of Darkness. University of Hawaii Press, 1994.
Short, Philip. Pol Pot: History of a Nightmare. John Murray, 2005.
Thayer, Nate. “Pol Pot Tells China in 1977 that Killings Underway” in Nate Thayer’s Archives. http://www.nate-thayer.com/pot-pot-briefs-china-in-19977-that-khmer-rouge-killings-underway/, 2012 .
Yu, Haiqing. “Doing Chinese Media Studies: A Reflection on the Field’s History and Methodology” in Media International Australia, no. 138, 2011.
Zhang Qing. “Remembering China’s First Generation of Leaders Aiding Cambodia” in Around Southeast Asia. China Academic Journal Electronic Publishing House, 2003.
 Language note: the word zhanyou 战友, hereby translated as “comrade-in-arms”, can also be translated as “brother-in-arms,” “friend in battle,” or “fellow warrior.” The term denotes a special sense of kinship camaraderie in China, one of fighting for a common cause. It is a compound word combining the character zhan 战 (battle) with the character you 友 (friend). Compare with pengyou 朋友 (generic friend), xiaoyou 校友 (schoolmate, school friend), nanyou/nuyou 男友/女友 (boyfriend/girlfriend) and paoyou 炮友 (hookup buddy, friend-with-benefits).
 On September 27, a day before Pol Pot left for Beijing, he made a speech in Phnom Penh, revealing for the first time the existence of the Communist Party of Kampuchea and that he was its leader. While already familiar with the Chinese leadership, most of the outside world, and indeed many Cambodians, had no prior knowledge of who had been in power for the past two years. Pol Pot arrived in Beijing on September 28 and departed for Pyongyang on October 4, returning to China a week later and to Cambodia on October 22. The trip was Pol Pot’s only official foreign visit while in power. China would return an official visit to Cambodia in November 1978.
 Pol Pot, born Saloth Sar on May 19, 1925, was a French-educated Cambodian revolutionary who served as the leader of the Khmer Rouge (1963-1997), and General Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea (1963-1981). His administration relocated city residents to the countryside and overhauled the economic system in an attempt to create a classless, agrarian society. In the same year of the China visit, the Cambodian currency was abolished. Although officially removed from power in 1985, he exerted influence over politics and the military throughout the 1990s, albeit with decreasing prominence. In June 1997, he was ousted from the Party’s leadership by fellow leaders, and died peacefully the next year of old age.
 Tiananmen Square is a city square located in the heart of Beijing. The site of many great historical events, the square is of major cultural significance to the Chinese nation and is the venue for large-scale national and international events.
 Changan Avenue, meaning Avenue of Eternal Peace, is a major boulevard in Beijing, located between Tiananmen Gate and Tiananmen Square. It is the major thoroughfare used for all important parades, processions and events in the Chinese capital. Pol Pot’s motorcade passing through this important avenue denotes the scale of honor bestowed to him by the Chinese government.
 Refers to the article “Warmly Welcome Cambodian Comrade-in-Arms” printed on the front page of the People’s Daily on September 28, 1977 (see picture below). Founded in 1948, the People’s Daily is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China, representing the official perspective of the Chinese government. The paper published both the “Cambodian Comrade-in-arms, Beijing Welcomes You!” article on September 29 and the “Warmly Welcome Cambodian Comrade-in-Arms” article on September 28.
 Language note: the word 赞歌, hereby translated as “paean,” can also be translated as “song of praise” or “song of triumph.” This Chinese musical genre was a notable feature in Chairman Mao’s cult of personality during the Cultural Revolution.
 Refers to the long history of civil conflict in the region, most notably the Cambodian Civil War (1967-1975) which ultimately propelled the Khmer Rouge to power.
 Refers to the Chinese population in 1977.
 Hua Guofeng, born Su Zhu on February 16, 1921, was Chairman Mao’s handpicked successor as the Premier of China (1976-1980) and the Chairman of the Communist Party of China (1976-1981). He is known for ending the Cultural Revolution and ousting the leftist Gang of Four faction headed by Jiang Qing. He effectively served as the transitional leader between Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. Although he maintained high leadership titles well into the 21st century, his power was limited and he did not actively influence politics.
 Apart from Pol Pot, the Cambodian delegation included top leaders such as Son Sen, head of the security apparatus, and Ieng Sary, foreign minister and deputy prime minister. Although Deng Xiaoping, the man who would later usurp Hua’s power, was absent at the welcome ceremony, he met with Pol Pot when the Cambodians returned to China from Pyongyang in October. Unmentioned in the article, Pol Pot’s concerns about Vietnamese leader Pham Van Dong’s visit to Beijing and the signing of the Vietnam-Lao Agreement the same year spurred the motivations for the trip.
 Pol Pot’s smile was one that was frequently mentioned by journalists, and is often cited as a feature of his soft-spoken public persona. As journalist Elizabeth Becker recounts: “He was actually quite elegant – with a pleasing smile and delicate, alert eyes. He was much more polished than the mugshot quality photographs I had seen of him.”