Khrong Chandawong

Khrong Chandawong (1908 – 31 May 1961) was a Thai politician and democracy activist who was executed on the orders of dictator Sarit Thanarat.[1] His last words before his execution; “May dictatorship be wrecked. May democracy be flourish.” (Thai: เผด็จการจงพินาศ ประชาธิปไตยจงเจริญ), have been repeatedly quoted in various protests and demonstrations for Thailand’s struggling democracy.[2]

Khrong Chandawong
ครอง จันดาวงศ์
ครอง จันดาวงศ์.jpg
Khrong Chandawong, photo taken prior to 1959
Member of the Thai House of Representatives
In office
1957–1958
ConstituencySakon Nakhon Province
Personal details
Born1908
Sakon Nakhon Province
Died31 May 1961
NationalityThai
Professionteacher, politician, activist

Early lifeEdit

Born to a well-off farming family in Sakon Nakhon Province, Chandawong began his career as a teacher in his home region.[1] During World War II, he joined the Free Thai Movement (Seri Thai), an underground anti-Japanese resistance movement.[3]:183

Political activitiesEdit

In the post-war era, Chandawong's activities attracted the ire of several Thai governments. He was a close friend of Tiang Sirikhanth,[4] who, like Chandawong, was a schoolteacher from Sakon Nakhon and former member of Seri Thai, and who was killed in 1952 on orders of the Phibun government. Chandawong founded Sammakkhittham ('Solidarity'), a peasant-based group which allegedly attracted thousands of members in northeastern Thailand and was seen as a threat by the central government.[5] Chandawong was jailed for five years from 1952 to 1957 on charges of rebellion, before being released as part of a mass amnesty.[6]:129–130

After his release, Chandawong became a member of parliament for Sakon Nakhon from 1957–1958.[1] He advocated repeal of anti-communist laws, direct election of village headmen, and Isan separatism.[6][1] On 6 May 1961, Chandawong and several dozen others were arrested for alleged communist activities.[6] He was accused of anti-Buddhist and anti-monarchical activities. According to the statement announcing his execution, he had stated that, after a communist revolution in Thailand, the king and monks would be sent to labor in factories.[6]:108

Execution and aftermathEdit

On 30 May 1961, Prime Minister Sarit Thanarat met with his cabinet and decreed that Chandawong and Thongpan Sutthimat were to be executed "to protect national security and the Throne". The pair were summarily executed the next day.[6] After the execution, Chandawong's wife and daughter, along with other activists, fled into the mountains of northeastern Thailand; they made contacts with the Pathet Lao and would form the core of the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT).[3] His daughter, under the alias Rassamee, became something of a cult figure in the CPT, while two of his sons became provincial-level figures within the movement.[7] A small monument was erected to Chandawong and Thongpan in 2003, but was later moved inside a government compound and then had a road built within a meter of the new location.[8]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Baker, Chris; Phongpaichit, Pasuk (2005). A History of Thailand. Cambridge University Press. p. 283. ISBN 0521816157. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  2. ^ "58 ปี วาทะ 'เผด็จการจงพินาศ ประชาธิปไตยจงเจริญ' ครูครอง กับคำที่ยังมีชีวิต" (in Thai). Prachathai. 2019-05-31.
  3. ^ a b Handley, Paul M (2006). The King Never Smiles: A Biography of Thailand's Bhumibol Adulyadej. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300130591. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  4. ^ Fry, Gerald W., Nieminen, Gayla S., Smith, Harold E. "Historical Dictionary of Thailand" pg. 216
  5. ^ Blake, David John Humphrey (November 2012). Irrigationalism – the politics and ideology of irrigation development in the Nam Songkhram Basin, Northeast Thailand (Dissertation). Norwich: University of East Anglia. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e Chaloemtiarana, Thak (2007). Thailand: The Politics of Despotic Paternalism; Issue 42 of Studies on Southeast Asia (Reprinted, revised ed.). SEAP Publications. ISBN 9780877277422. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  7. ^ Marks, Thomas A (2012). Maoist Insurgency Since Vietnam (Revised ed.). Routledge. p. 32. ISBN 9781136302206. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  8. ^ Blake, David (2011-05-20). "Khrong Chandawong remembered". New Mandala. Retrieved 5 November 2018.