The Formation and Maintenance of the Anti-Lao Government Forces
Shoua Yang

Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Political Science
Northern Illinois University
Illinois, USA



Although the government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (LPDR) claims that there is no internal conflict between the government and the resistance forces, I learned from my field research in Fresno, California, and in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, from June 2003 to December 2004 that there has been an ongoing war between the government and the resistance forces since 1975, and that the fighting still continues. Utilizing a set of open-ended questions, I interviewed 23 exiled officials of the Royal Lao Government (RLG) who are cofounders, leaders, and members of the Democratic Chao Fa Party of Laos (Chao Fa) and the United Lao National Liberation Front (Neo Hom), the two affiliated homeland political organizations in America. With the help of these homeland political organizations, their affiliated resistance forces inside Laos are still actively resisting the government in the jungles of northern Laos. In April 2004, BBC journalists Ruhi Hamid and Misha Maltsev, guided by resistance secret agents, sneaked into the jungles to interview the resistance leaders. They reported to the Hmong-American, the Lao-American, and the international communities that, in fact, there is still a war between the government and the resistance forces. Thus, in contrast to the government claim, this evidence shows that there is an internal conflict in Laos.

In this presentation, I will discuss the factors that led to the formation and maintenance of these two resistance forces. In 1975, the Pathet Lao seized power and adopted a persecution policy to wipe out former civilian officials and soldiers of the RLG. In counteraction, a group of former Hmong civilian officials and soldiers of the RLG reorganized themselves as Chao Fa to resist this policy. In 1978, Chao Fa was supported by Thailand; in 1979, by China; in the 1980s, by the United States. Fearful that Chao Fa, with the help of this international support, might succeed in overthrowing the Communist government of the LPDR, exiled Lao leaders and Hmong General Vang Pao formed the ULNLF/Neo Hom in 1981 to counteract Chao Fa and then the LPDR, for Vientiane, Neo Hom argues, has been dominated by Hanoi. Organizational goals, intraorganizational interaction, interorganizational networks, and honorific leadership positions essentially explain the survival of these two homeland political organizations. Having explained the leading variables in the formation and maintenance of these two homeland political organizations, I propose a conference of five members, one each from the LPDR, Chao Fa, Neo Hom, the USA, and the UN to address this Lao internal conflict.