A Brief Overview

The flight of refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to other countries around the South China Sea, either by boats to harbours in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, the Philippines and Singapore, or overland to Thailand and China, started in April-May 1975 and continued, intermittently, until the early 1990s.  Its initial causes were the victories of national communist armed forces against the governments in all three countries.  As the defender of purportedly “liberal” but, in fact often corrupt local governments, the United States had waged unwinnable struggles after the defeat and withdrawal of France, the former colonial power. Once the communist nationalists won the vicious, terribly destructive Indochinese wars, they were ready to punish their enemies, meaning any supporters, officials or soldiers of the former governments.

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