6.2 Who Formulated Laos’ Policies?

In 1973, a US expert came for a visit to Laos and went in to meet with the Director of the Ministry of the Interior in Vientiane after making several field trips around the city, especially to development, education, and training project centers. He was most interested in Laos’ management style. The first question he asked was, “Do the Lao people have a dream?” The Director answered, “The Lao do not dream during the day-time, just at night-time.” Having heard that answer, the US expert stayed mum.

Questions and answers are very important. If the person asking the question is not familiar with the background of the other person he/she is talking to, sometimes his/her question may be misinterpreted and/or completely misunderstood. The expert’s question may be related to the Lao people’s hope but if the Director provided a direct answer without first thinking about the real meaning of the question, this might get the inquirer confused, lead him to think in a different direction, or make him feel uncomfortable or uneasy. Obviously, the expert did not get the kind of answer he was expecting, hence his complete silent reaction.

In this case, the situation might somewhat special. The answerer might have been a little bit witty and did not want to give a simple, straight answer because he felt bad that most of the Lao people did not really dream about becoming better persons. Their only dream occurs at night, like all purely natural dreams.

Be as it may, most of the Lao civil servants were not highly educated people and, as such, did not fully understand political nuances, rarely did any research of their own, and did not always follow up with internal and external developments. The changes that occurred over time, the knowledge base and the Lao culture are hard to understand because of prolonged internal fighting, limited national leadership by people with only a mild education level that blindly applied foreign rules, exercised dictatorial control, and rose to power through party or family affiliation. All this, in addition to the variety of ethnic groups in existence, made it difficult for the country to stay united and work for national rather than personal interests.

The outcome was instead more internal conflicts and continuing insecurity that had last for hundreds of years. Throughout our history, the Lao princes had been asking for Burmese, Cambodian, Thai, and Vietnamese’s support in their fights against their own compatriots. In the end, Laos became a broken country, and its people became foreigners in their own land. Before long, Laos could become a foreign country’s property, because right now more than three tenths of the country is already practically in the hands of North-Vietnam. A good example is the Ho Chi Minh trail that ran along the Lao-Vietnam border toward South-Vietnam. Today, the width of that trail has been expanded westward, at least 20 kilometers into parts of Laos without anybody being officially informed about it or saying anything against it, because the Lao communists owed a blood debt to North-Vietnam.

The loss of the territory and population of Laos was caused by the Lao leaders’ lack of political judgment and hint, statesmanship, and societal skills. Most of the Lao political leaders tend to use the power of their party for their own benefits, without thinking about the potential impacts on their compatriots and their country. A good example was the Kong Le’s coup d’etat on August 9, 1960 that indirectly benefitted the Souphanouvong-led communist regime. Kong Le also had to asking for North-Vietnamese troops to help him attack the Royal Lao Army. His action caused havoc within the Royal Lao Army and resulted in a tri-party scission and fierce internal fighting. Princes Souvanna Phouma and Souphanouvong also used the same strategy of bringing in the communist regime to rule Laos by justifying to the outside world they had to do so to maintain neutrality –a neutrality than was 100 percent left-leaning.

After Lao fell under the communist regime, its new name was Lao PDR –Laos People’s Democratic Republic. Princes Souvanna Phouma and Souphanouvong did not get any recognition from the LPDR, only Kaysone Phomvihane did. Because Kaysone was the real boss, a man with a Vietnamese father. He was born in Vietnam and brought by his father to Laos, where he grew up. Kaysone was a former French civil servant that committed a misdemeanor and went to seek shelter with Ho Chi Minh, who then trained him to be an anti-French fighter as an act of revenge for the French colonization. He was talking about removing French wooden yokes from the necks of the Lao people, but actually ended up replacing those with heavier, steel yokes. For all his accomplishments, Kaysone Phomvihane became very influential and a key member of the Indochina Communist Party (ICP). Princes Souvanna Phouma and Souphanouvong did none of those, were not classified as revolutionary fighters, did not have their names on the ICP list, and were not needed by the communists.

Photo #207. Kaysone Phomvihane, born on December 13, 1920; died on November 21, 1992 in Vientiane, Laos.  As President of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic since December 1975, he was the one who signed the treaty that put Laos under North-Vietnam’s control from July 18, 1977 to present.

Photo #208. Kaysone and Souphanouvong in 1950.

The one individual that got the highest grade from Kaysone Phomvihane was Gen. Kham-Ouane Boupha, a faithful follower who pulled the teeth and the nails of the rightists by using the 18-provision mini-agreement signed in Vientiane in 1973 as a tool and a tactic to get the eyes and ears of many deceivable, opportunistic rightist leaders and have them participate in disturbing demonstrations to disrupt national unity. Violating the 1973 mini-agreements proved to be part of the tactics used by the Lao communists to implement North-Vietnam’s plan to swallow Laos.

This violation did not seem to be of any concern to the countries that signed the previous three agreements in 1954, 1962 and 1973. Those countries did nothing to try to resolve the issues and/or monitor the evolving situation. On the contrary, they looked the other way and let the perpetrators proceed with their neo-colonization plan, which they did without any regards to the International Court of Justice. This allowed Kaysone Phomvihane to put Laos under Vietnam’s control for 25 year terms that are renewable indefinitely by 10-year increments under a treaty that seemed to contain no way out. [Since the treaty was first signed in 1977, the first 25-year term expired in 2002. The first 10-year extension will last until 2012. The second 10-year extension would be effective for the 2012-2024 timeframe].

All the Lao natives should read and remember the role played by Gen. Kham-Ouan Boupha, who implemented the Indochina Communist Party’s plan to destroy Laos and its people. The short-minded civil servants and the unprepared Lao students who supported Gen. Kham-Ouan Boupha at that time should have spent more time soul searching before jumping into action. Since mistakes are easy to make; it would be too late to run first and then think back later. And fixing past mistakes is next to impossible, because the people affected are your own fathers, mothers, leaders and your own country. Issues should have been resolved amicably by all those involved and within an appropriate nation-wide context.

You are invited to read all the writings of Gen. Kham-Ouane Boupha about the red Lao communists’ victory of 1975 that were made public in 1995, 20 years after the death of Kaysone Phomvihane. You may be wondering whose victory he was talking about –Lao’s victory or communist Vietnam’s victory? Because of all of those activities, about one million of Lao had to leave the country, some of whom died during their journeys abroad, were killed by accident, and are now resettled in several parts of the world. Worse, about 46,000 rightist leaders were subject to mistreatments, got ferociously and barbarously killed at the re-education camp of Vieng Xay, Houaphan Province without any possible help from any court of justice.

Gen. Kham-Ouan Boupha wrote a book in 1995 entitled, “How to Maintain the Champa Flowers?” It is already too late, general! Kaysone Phomvihane had already signed off Laos for a 25-year control by communist Vietnam –enough time for mixed Vietnamese-Lao blood to grow and become the bosses of our entire country.

In their personal memoirs, many Lao leaders and foreigners in and out of the country have written about Lao historical events as part of their life experience. These documents should be to interest to the younger Lao readers in their research and fact-finding activities regarding the origins of Lao events.  We, Lao natives, ought to know our country’s history well and make every effort to prevent the bad side of history from repeating itself.

Please read the destruction plan written by Maha Kou Souvannamethi, Minister of Religious Affairs in the third Laos Coalition Government, and by Sanan Southichak.  This is a suggestion made by Souvannarath Chindavong, who used to be lured into joining the 21-Gang Organization and ended up being very badly mistreated to almost the point of no return. He fortunately survived, and was later able to reveal the truth about the Lao communists implementing North-Vietnam’s plans as to achieve victory, seek revenge, and gain power. As it turned out, all they did was only to serve the interests of the Vietnamese communists.

Tactics of the 21-Gang Organization

Peaceful changes were part of the new war that was very dangerous to the political party and the regime in power because it involved destroying the population, national independence and individual freedom without using armed forces but some tactics like the following:

  1. Use socialistic tactics within the country to promote internal dissensions. Capitalists usually only mostly deal with people from the urban centers, and seldom with those from the rural areas.
  2. Deal with each generation separately in order to create long-term splits and dig big holes from where to destroy the party and the regime;
  3. Use all legal, illegal, open, and secret means to create every opportunity to act, including economic market, open cooperation with foreign countries, investments, etc.
  4. Use all political, economic, and cultural and other measures to put pressure on the armed forces as needed in order to encourage and support internal rebellious groups;
  5. Continue psychological warfare as a sharp weapon to make false accusations and create hopes, as well as creating a basis to attract and pay civil servants and the population for their blind support and their work for the regime, then introduce socialism to open their eyes so they can see and understand a democratic regime that advocates many political parties and complicated procedures.

What Did Those Tactics Do?

  • They destroyed national independence;
  • They created new parties in each region and for each ethnic group;
  • They created conflicts between ethnic groups who became mad at each other and disunited because of the provocative tactics;
  • They brought a lot of dissensions in the religious circles as people who practiced Christianity were denied their citizen rights to becoming soldiers and working with the rest of the population on Christ’s holy days.

Elimination Plan of Maha Kou and Sanan Southichak

Step 1. Use the 18 provision plan to dismantle the Vientiane faction by having members of the 21-Gang Organization infiltrate every political party, service department, ministerial and provincial office, public fraternity, etc. If this political plan is not successful, then openly (mis)use the law that guarantees individual rights.

Step 2. Organize public meetings, demonstrations, and protestations to destroy important Vientiane leaders (civil servants, military, police and businessmen).

Step 3. Force the Vientiane faction supporters who do not like freedom to leave the country and those who support freedom to get trained on how to fight the Vientiane’s army; confiscate weapons and keep them in designated arsenals; organize heavy demonstrations to dissolve the Vientiane regime starting from the village base-root, to the Muang and to the Khoueng level on August 23, 1975 at the That Louang fairgrounds in Vientiane.

Step 4. Separate those who will serve duties from those who will not, and send those who will not to re-education camps under the pretext that they were opposed to the revolution. Keep them in detention in the liberated areas based on the principle that we need to destroy germs to save bodies. If they survive, they would be freed eventually. If not, they will be left suffering for the bad deeds they did for the country. If they survive for too long, they will be subject to harsher treatments, slowly poisoned to death, or killed. Slow poisoning could either ended with death or serious physical incapacitation.  Train selected people from the re-education camps so they could come back and serve duties on a short or long-term basis as needed. Select the right people to train, recognizing that those who will go and work outside the camps will be better off than those who stay in the camps.

Photo # 209. Prisoners at the Vieng Xay Re-education Camp  guarded by young women from the Communist Party

The plan and strategy to eradicate the Vientiane civil servants, police, military, students and younger people shortly after the communist take-over had been successful. [This was a military plan that also relied on the psychological warfare component]. Civil servants and members of the police and military had to be specifically instructed by higher ups to undergo hands-on field training in the formerly liberated zones. The destruction plan itself was in accordance with Step-4, “How to destroy the Vientiane’s military officers who do not like freedom”.

Representatives of the 21-Gang Organization got trained in psychological warfare and were active in leading the implementation of the short (10-year) term elimination plan, “Our agents work inside, the opposition works outside”. The new organization created to eliminate high-ranking officers of the Vientiane’s army was called “Chaofa”. According to the Laos’ history, some fighting occurred at the early stage of the French administration because some of the Lao population did not want to pay taxes to the French. The highland Lao leader involved, Thao Pang Chay, felt that the revolt against the French was a dangerous fight that needed a psychological strategy. He then proclaimed he was a God-sent leader that no one could kill, regardless of the weapons used. In that context, the word “Chaofa” referred to a bullet-proof leader. The short-term implication of this plan was military in nature and directed at completely eliminating the Vientiane military for good, along with those who were not ready to join rank with the “Chaofa”.

As for the elimination of the Vientiane youth and students, it had to be accomplished right after the change of regime took place. People who were used to prosperity must be eliminated. The process should be as follows: the Communist Party had to give orders to the youth and students of the RLG Party to join the military, serve as volunteers in the fight against the Chaofa, and be trained on the use of firearms. The Communist Party would provide these weapons and support military actions. Ammunitions for AK47 guns were directly supplied by higher ups, and consisted of powder-activated projectiles with only a 25 meter firing range. This gave the Chaofa troopers an edge over the local guards. In the end, the leadership brought the bodies of the young recruits who died in fighting the Chaofa rebels to the That Louang compound, exposed them to the public eyes, and asked for public support for using stronger weapons in completely elimination the Chaofa rebels.

Modern weapons were used in the fighting, including chemical weapons. This was the last stage of the psychological warfare –destroy from inside out, use insiders to fight insiders. In the end, real military forces had to be used to destroy the Vientiane government as the last resource. [Yes, in the end, they brought in Vietnamese to completely eliminate all the Lao people].

Step 5. Destroy every organization in third countries that is against the Lao Communist Government.

  1. Split intellectuals, exclude youth from established associations, and generate continuing dissensions;
  2. Split distinguished community members;
  3. After successfully destroying associations, use the association establishment to work in the interest of the Party and the State, going from small to large Lao associations created in foreign countries;
  4. Destroy the individuals who got separated from their peers, keep them isolated and despised by their friends and acquaintances, using various tactics to prevent further social activities involvement.

Smeu Mouthalay was the leader of the 21-Gang Organizations attached to the Dong Dok Teachers Federation. At present, he is the special envoy of the Red Lao Government assigned with the task of ensuring the successful implementation of Step 5 in Europe and the USA. He was sent by the Red Lao Government to France to collaborate with Chansamone Voravong in trying to reach out to the Royal Lao family and eliminate the Sananikone family in France. Ngeun Samrith assumed the required liaison with the Laos Embassy in France.

Those working for the Red Lao Government in the USA included Khamxay Saysane, Col. Souvan Phansy, (the late) Col. Fongsamouth and Somchine Phixaygnavong.

The Lao and Vietnamese communists unexpectedly dissolved the Lao Coalition Government that was the last hope of the Lao people in 1975, thanks to the Lao communists’ plan to sell their country.

The 21-Gang Organization

The 21-Gang Organization performed vital tasks for and operated as the strong horses of the revolutionary communist party in Vientiane in 1975 without any regard for the Pro-United Lao agreement. Traitors who sold their country to the Vietnamese communists are listed as follows:

  1. Thao Boun Hen, student, holding big cash reward money bag
  2. Bousbong Souvannavong, Secretary-General of the Coalition Government’s Ministry of the Treasury (as a Red Lao member)
  3. Unknown
  4. Maha Kou Souvannamethi, Minister of Religious Affairs, Coalition Government  (as a Red Lao member)
  5. Thao Khamfanh, student
  6. Thao Sanith, student, holding a big cash reward money chest
  7. Unknown
  8. Thao Kham Hoy, student; a critical member of the 21-Gang Organization, killed in a refugee camp in Thailand
  9. 9.      Col. Cheng Sayavong (alias Seng-Aroun), got promoted to the rank of General by the Red Lao Government and later assigned to the Phu Doy Regional Development Center, Luang Namtha Province. [Before joining the 21-Gang Organizations, Seng-Aroun used to be the boss of Thao Khamsay, the founder of the Free Democratic Movement in the US. That movement consisted of two sub-groups, one led by Pa Kao Heu and Mua Yia Long in Thailand, and other one, led by Thao Khamsay. This confusing situation made it tough to identify everybody on the photo].
  10. Soth Phetrasy, Minister of Economy, Lao Coalition Government (as a Red Lao member), and the main financial supporter of the traitor students
  11. Colonel Phonexay (Red Lao member), and
  12. Thao Khamsay Sourinhthone, student, an important member of the Organizations that created a lot of turmoil. A well-known Pakse native, he has resettled in Canada.


Photo #210.Members of the Twenty-One Gang Organization behind the manifestations against the Royal Lao Government from 1974 to 1975. They drove many Laotians to immigrate to many other countries around the world.

Secret Plan to Form the Lao Coalition Government

Before they took power from the Vientiane Government in 1975, the Red Lao communists worked out the following secret plan at Vieng Xay, Houaphan Province:

  1. Create an interim coalition government, with equal representation from each political faction, dissolve the National Assembly, set up the coalition government with Tiao Souphanouvong as President, and Tiao Souvanna Phouma as Prime Minister (as usual);
  2. Set up a fake new constitution within the context of the 18 political provisions;
  3. Set up fake borders to regroup and hide the (Vietnamese) troops;
  4. Do everything to liberate and regain power from the Vientiane faction, using secret tactics and financial rewards to attract the population, students, business people, civil servants, military, police and have them serve as core leaders;
  5. Close down all the institutional symbols (nation, religion, and royalty), change the national flag, change the leadership team in all ministerial departments, and change the name of the country to a people’s republic;
  6. Extend transformations until the ocean shore to the south is reached, then announce the country’s membership of the Indochina Federation headquartered in Hanoi, North-Vietnam and its North-Vietnamese style of direct communist regime; and
  7. Based on close cooperation between the three Indochina countries, continue to liberate other south-east Asian countries, especially those that share borders with the three Indochina countries.

Planned Strategies for the Vientiane Faction and Vang Pao

  1. Send members to the Vientiane military, police and civil service for re-education training in the northern parts of Xieng Khouang and Houaphan provinces;
  2. Put the military at the rank of lieutenant on life detention without possibility to ever come back home
  3. Put the military between the ranks of lieutenant and captain in re-education camps for an indefinite period and have them serve as the slaves of the State for their entire life
  4. Put the military between the ranks of major and colonel in re-education camps until the day they die; and
  5. Execute all the Royal Lao Army generals and high-ranking Vientiane civil servants.

Planned Measures for the Vientiane Civilians

  1. Assign Vientiane’s civilians to national reconstruction projects once the war is over; and
  2. Have them serve as slaves and carrier horses for the State (Communist Party) until their deaths.

Planned Measures for the Hmong

  1. Use time wisely and make appropriate plan to eliminate all the Hmong people starting around 1979-1981 or in 1982. Pick the right time because the Hmong are very resentful and keep their resentments deep in their hearts for a long time;
  2. Eliminate all the Hmong between the ages of 5 and 50. Hmong of this age range are like rotten meat; it does not matter how many times you wash that meat, it will still smell bad.

Re-education Strategies

  1. Must perform auto-critique
  2. Must be forced to continually perform self-blaming; must not be allowed to socialize
  3. Must use people rights and interests as themes of their diatribes
  4. Must treat the country as people’s property, focus on people’s wishes and hopes until they are met, and then put pressure on the people and remove all their rights.

Negotiation Strategies with the Vientiane Government

  1. Accept their proposals if they agree to cooperate
  2. During the cooperative execution phase, all parties should have equal rights
  3. Once the rights and treatments are equal, use those rights and communist policies to modify and eventually destroy the initial agreements on a step by step basis. Do not refer to past agreements.

Revolutionist Tenets

  1. A revolutionist must serve the people and the country until death
  2. A revolutionist must be completely detached from his/her family and relatives
  3. A revolutionist who is still worried about his/her family and relatives and is not up to his/her duties must be sent for additional re-education training.

The Economics of War

Money is powerful. Based on the example of the Soviet Secret Service (KGB), Lao Communists need to use spies to infiltrate non-communist communities and attract money from abroad. Internally, Lao Communists must force people to spend the State’s money, the so-called “liberation funds.”

Plan to Build Economic Bases Abroad

This plan involves sending Lao PDR representatives to serve in consulates, and crafty investors to secretly participate in investment projects such as coinage, office building, tobacco processing, sawmills, etc. in order to produce some income from buyers and other customers from nearby urban centers and rural areas. The plan also serves the purpose of inciting politicians of the country to get involved in creating dissensions everywhere around the world.

1975-1980 Plan to Eliminate the Royal Lao Government

Implement the Indochina Communist Party’s strategy as the basis for re-educating the public, training people, and completely exterminating defeated troopers who are still hiding in the jungle. Use 1980 as the year to proclaim socialism and implement a new constitution that calls for North-Vietnam’s control in every area, such as

  • Country’s work force created by the revolution (you have to be Vietnamese to qualify)
  • Internal trade, to be treated as a State’s business through the State-controlled cooperative system.

Personal Notes from Souvannarath Chindavong

[Souvannarath Chindavong was a member of the 21-Gang Organization and the right-hand man of both Samane Southichak and Maha Kou Souvan Namethi during 1971-1975. On September 29, 1975 he was arrested, handcuffed, and forced to walk from Ban Phanh Manh to KM 4 Loading Point near Vientiane. He was then sent to Nongdouang and locked in a cage for twenty-five days, guarded by the Communist Party Police (most of whom were women).  He was accused of being anti-revolution and cooperating with the Lao Huam Sam Phan Association. On October 23, 1975 he was sent to Samkhae Prison (near Phonekheng). On February 16, 1976, he and several prisoners from Samkhae were sent to Phongsaly in northern Laos, near the border of China. Also sent with him was Thao Keo Phoum Phomdeth, who was a part of the Twenty-One Gang Organization. When they arrived at Phongsaly in northern Laos, Thao Keo learned that he had been misled and then fled to China. Three days later, Souvannarath saw three men being admitted to the re-education camp.  One of them was Thao Keo; he and Capt. Somsy Narongsak were military officers from Chinaimo Military Camp.  The two men were executed shortly after being recaptured.


In 1979, when fighting broke out between the Chinese and the Lao Communists along the border between China and Laos, the communists released some prisoners. Boutsaboung Souvannavong requested that Souvannarath Chindavong be allowed to return to work in Vientiane. Souvannarath did return to work, but then escaped to Thailand on June 30, 1979.  On September 3, 1979 he immigrated to West Germany, but he now lives in San Diego, California, USA.  His notes are a self-confession that he had worked with the Twenty-One Gang Organization, which was used by Mahakou. In the end, hewas sent to learn how to use the nine-link chain at the re-education camp in Ban Po, Phongsaly Province. He recorded all this so that people know how badly he was mistreated by the Communists.]


In 1978, China’s Ambassador to France in Paris contacted some Lao organizations to see if the Lao people needed help.  An appointment was set for the meeting, and twenty groups of Lao showed up, all of them representing the Lao People.  This confused the Chinese Ambassador who at first asked for only one group of Lao representatives.  The attendees left and never returned again.

On July 22, 1978 the Lao Communists sided with North-Vietnam in their fight against China with respect to their differences over Cambodia.

In 1979, the Chinese attacked North-Vietnam on all fronts, an attack that convinced North-Vietnam to make slight changes to its policy of domination over Indochina. In January 1979, the Lao Communists hailed North-Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia and subsequently denounced China’s punishment of Vietnamese Communists. In May 1979, the Chinese radio announced the formation of a Lao Socialist Party.  The Lao Communists then accused China of training and arming anti-Lao Communist Government guerillas. In July, 1979, the purging of pro-Chinese elements in the Lao Communists Party (LPRP) led to defection of a number of middle-level cadres to China and many others country. One of the defectors was Tiao Souphanouvong’s son. Then, the Lao Communists Government announced immediate suspension of the cooperation program with China.

In 1980, Anti- Lao Communist government resistance leaders announced formation of the Lao People’s National Liberation United Front.

1981 was the first year of meeting of the foreign ministers of the three countries of Communist Indochina (Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam).

On January 10, 1984, Souvanna Phouma died in Vientiane at the age of eighty-two.

In 1986, Lor Faydang Lobliayao died in Laos.

On March 11, 1991 the Pathet Lao signed an agreement with Thailand on mutual withdrawal of troops from a disputed border village.

In 1992, Thailand closed the refugees Camp of Ban Vinai from Lao Communist agreed to open friendship with Thailand.

On January 9.1995 Souphanouvong died in Vientiane at the age of eighty-five. His wife Viengkham died on September 1, 2006 also at the age of eighty-five.

There are still many Red Lao strategic elements that have not yet been revealed. Those outlined above were typical and demonstrated how ferocious the Red Lao’s policies used against the Lao and Lao Hmong people actually were.