Against a background of reports detailing the persecution of Buddhist monks under former Kampuchean Leader Pol Pot, a mass grave has been found in a ruined temple near Phnom Penh.
GV PAN Countryside outside Phnom Penh, Kampuchea
CU PAN Large grave
CU Bones and skulls on ground
CU Peasant girl looking on
CU Skulls and bones (3 SHOTS)
CU ZOOM Skull on ground
GV PAN ZOOM TO ??? pagoda and rubble with damaged medical supplies (3 SHOTS)
CU PAN TO Temple relief, more rubble
GV PAN TO Country side, temple with river in background (2 SHOTS)
CU ZOOM OUT TO damaged stool, temple walls
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Background: Against a background of reports detailing the persecution of Buddhist monks under former Kampuchean Leader Pol Pot, a mass grave has been found in a ruined temple near Phnom Penh. The temple is at Oudong, in Kampong Speu province, and the discovery of bodies there has lent weight to reports of religious persecution under Pol Pot.
SYNOPSIS: The temple, some fifty miles (80 kilometres) north of Phnom Penh, once housed a whole community of monks.
Now it is a graveyard - and the skulls and bones that litter its precincts are thought to be all that remains of those monks. Refugees now fleeing Kampuchea tell how the Pol Pot regime declared the practising of religion to be a capital offence. A report by the new government says that more than three thousand five hundred temples and pagodas were destroyed by the Khmer Rouge, while Buddhist clergymen were either relegated to third-class citizens, or executed.
After they had been emptied, buildings like this pagoda in Phnom Penh were put to government use, often far removed from their original function. This one became a dumping ground for damaged medical supplies. Other buildings were used as prisons and execution points, reviving memories of religious persecutions of bygone centuries, such as the infamous inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church in Spain, and the anti-clerical persecutions in Mexico earlier in the twentieth century.
Physical destruction has been so widespread it would take a massive campaign of rebuilding a fraction of the lost buildings.
Now, religion in Kampuchea has been approved again -- one of the first decrees of the new Heng Samrin administration was to permit freedom of worship. But the campaign against the monks has been all too rigorous and effective; there are hardly any of them left to practise and consolidate it once more.