By: Jingkhu Xiong
Photo Credit: Wameng Vang/Noah Vang
Laos – Long Cheng is now become a city again since the country has fallen to communist forces in 1975.
The Lao government has announced the newly established Xaysomboun province, a former special zone, as the nation’s 17th province.
This new province was officially approved by the Lao National Assembly during the 6th ordinary session of the 7th legislature last December, 2013.
Additionally, Lao government also renamed Xaysomboun town to be Anouvong, to honor King Anouvong, who led the Laotian Rebellion, but later defeated to Thailand’s King Rama III (King of Siam) in 1829.
Currently, Xaysomboun has a population of more than 81,800 people and covers an area of 8,500 square kilometers. This province has about 7,800 households and most of the residents live under poverty.
This newly province will comprise five districts of Anouvong, Hom, Tha-thom, Longxan, and Long Cheng. Anouvong town will be the capital of this new province.
Xaysomboun province will share its borders with the provinces of Vientiane, Xieng Khuang, Luang Prabang, and Bolikhamxai.
Long Cheng, a district of the newly Xaysomboun province, used to be a Royal Lao military base located in Xieng Khuang province. This military base led by General Vang Pao during the Secret War. The city was once known as the second largest city in Laos but it never appeared on map.
However, the Lao government also plans to reconstruct the former military airbase at Long Cheng to be a commercial airport in the future.
The government also looks forward to invest in hydropower, mining, and tourism because Xaysomboun has an abundance of natural resources, which will accelerate development in this impoverished area.
Dr. Sombath Yialiher, a Hmong official, was appointed as Xaysomboun provincial governor. Dr. Sombath is currently head of the special committee, and he was former governor of Xayaboury and former Mayor of Lao capital, Vientiane.
The two vice governors of this new province are Mr. Phoykham Houngboungnuang, formar Mayor of Chanthabouly and Xaysettha districts, and Mr. Laopaoxong Navongxay, former Director of the Justice Department in Vientiane.
Regarding to Xaysomboun, it was a former special zone back in 1994, where the Hmong Chaofa movement is still hidden in the jungle; however, the Lao government revoked this special zone in 2006.
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