A Change of Guard

សូមស្តាប់វិទ្យុសង្គ្រោះជាតិ Please read more Khmer news and listen to CNRP Radio at National Rescue Party. សូមស្តាប់វីទ្យុខ្មែរប៉ុស្តិ៍/Khmer Post Radio.
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Sunday, 30 April 2017

Thanks to all Khmerization Administrators and Readers

I have abandoned Khmerization for a long time, not out of my choice but out of circumstances. I have been unwell for sometimes and I'm pretty pre-occupied with my works and family. For all these reasons, I'm very sorry that I have left it to some people to carry on the works of Khmerization for me. I wish to appeal to those who have the time and the dedication to carry on the works of Khmerization to step forward and continue the works.

I wish to thanks all those who dedicated their time and hard works to serve the Khmerization readers, particularly School of Vice, Manekseka Sangkum, Khmer Wathanakam and others. You have done such a fantastic job. For that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I wish to inform readers that I am unable to return to manage Khmerization full time. However, I'll try to pop in from time to time. Thank you to all the dedicated Admins and readers.

Khmerization

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Unlikely Partners: Cambodia and the Eurasian Economic Union

Unlikely Partners: Cambodia and the Eurasian Economic Union
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen during a welcoming ceremony for heads of the delegations at the Russia-ASEAN summit in Sochi, Russia, May 20, 2016.
Image Credit: REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
 
 
Why is Cambodia buying crocheted fabric from Belarus and leather saddles from Kyrgyzstan?
In its efforts to bolster trade and forge new international alliances, the Southeast Asian Kingdom has opted to increase ties with some unlikely partners: the members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
Launched by Russia in 2015 as a counterweight to the European Union, the EEU came into force with the accession of Belarus and Kazakhstan. Shortly thereafter, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan joined its ranks.
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But while the EEU’s raison d’être was ostensibly economic, its financial benefits are considered largely inconsequential. The union represents a market of a little over 180 million people and a GDP of around $2.2 trillion, but most members have low levels of industrialization, and there continue to be disagreements over tariffs and protectionism even within the union.

How China Came to Dominate Cambodia

How China Came to Dominate Cambodia
Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen (L) extends a hand shake to China's President Xi Jinping before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing (November 7, 2014).
Image Credit: REUTERS/Jason Lee
 
 
Was Cambodia paid off?
In June, it reportedly forced ASEAN to retract a strongly-worded statement on the South China Sea dispute, irking many of its regional partners. (It did the same in 2012.) A few days later, China promised Cambodia another $600 million in aid and loans. Prime Minister Hun Sen claimed the allegation his government was ‘bought’ was not “fair for Cambodia,” adding: “I will not allow anyone to insult the Khmer nation. I am not supporting any one country.” However, the Chinese government certainly thought Cambodia was being deferential. The outgoing Chinese ambassador to Cambodia, Bu Jianguo, lauded Cambodia’s “neutral and fair stance over the South China Sea issue.” She added: “Not only the government of China, but also millions of our people appreciated Prime Minister Hun Sen’s stance.”
With the ASEAN and East Asia Summits fast approaching, the prevailing expectation is that Cambodia will once again earn China’s ‘appreciation’ by blocking any unified movement on the South China Sea issue.
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In recent months, the Cambodian government has engaged in much encomium over China. On August 3, Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong stated that Cambodia’s development “could not be detached” from Chinese aid. Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan enthused: “Without Chinese aid, we go nowhere.” Such remarks are clear examples of just how close Cambodian and China have grown.

Cambodia's Anti-Vietnam Obsession

Cambodia's Anti-Vietnam Obsession
Buddhist monks burn Vietnamese flags made of paper as they protest near the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh (October 8, 2014).
Image Credit: REUTERS/Samrang Pring
 
 
On June 21, 2015 a mixed contingent of soldiers and police descended upon Areyksat village in Kandal province to forcibly remove 55 houseboats and 10 houses on the river banks. Unlike other violent evictions — which are far from rare in Cambodia — the logic of removal was not to make way for development or infrastructure, but for “environmental reasons.” The people, all of whom happened to be ethnic Vietnamese, were purportedly “polluting the area” – which, according to local authorities, impacts on “local beauty” and “national and international tourism.” On one of the many pro Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) news channels that night, the news presenters gleefully presented the story, noting that “illegal immigrants have to respect the rule of law” and local authorities should be commended for “protecting the environment.” They even [incorrectly] added that a number of the evictees had been deported to Vietnam – to triumphant smiles.
Two weeks later, this small Vietnamese community was pondering where to go when a large group of students — flanked by government officials — came to clean up the area, walking around picking up litter. They cited the need for “citizens” to protect and clean the environment. In a bizarre scene “student environmentalists” joined soldiers in “cleaning up” the local “environment” (which really equated to a straight out eviction), to the astonished stares of the recently evicted.

Cambodia: Hun Sen Draws First Blood

Cambodia: Hun Sen Draws First Blood
Image Credit: REUTERS/Samrang Pring
 
 
The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has drawn first blood in what promises to be an ugly and drawn-out election campaign after Prime Minister Hun Sen took an unusual step and enlisted the support of the senior military in a nasty crackdown on opposition dissent.
Gen. Kun Kim demanded the removal of key opposition figure Kem Sokha from his parliamentary position, and got it after the politician’s wife was terrorized by 200 to 300 men on motorbikes throwing rocks at their family home in a well-documented, six-hour ordeal.
Then two MPs from the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) were dragged from their cars outside of Parliament and bashed just one hour after a military-sponsored anti-opposition rally was staged with Gen. Kun Kim petitioning his demands “for the sake of national security.”
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The military intervention made unwanted headlines around the world.
In China, Cambodia’s most generous benefactor, Xinhua was reporting a rise in political tensions, quoting Chheang Vannarith, Chairman of the Cambodian Institute for Strategic Studies, as saying the country was on the verge of a political crisis.

Amid Threats to Its Existence, CNRP Seeks Bylaw Approval

After the Interior Ministry warned this week that it would not recognize the CNRP’s newly elected leaders because the opposition had violated its own bylaws in electing them, the party on Friday said it had asked the ministry to acknowledge its amended bylaws.
In a hastily convened congress on March 2 to replace former party President Sam Rainsy — who resigned in February to protect the party from being outlawed under the new Law on Political Parties — the CNRP first changed the party’s bylaws, then went on to elevate Mr. Sokha to permanent president and Pol Ham, Mu Sochua and Eng Chhay Eang as deputies.
The opposition CNRP’s new leadership stands before a party congress in Phnom Penh on March From left: Kem Sokha, Pol Ham, Mu Sochua and Eng Chhay Eang. (Emil Kastrup/The Cambodia Daily)
However, the ruling party branded the bylaw alterations as illegal, stating that the CNRP should have first submitted its internal rule changes to the government before selecting new leadership, since the party’s old bylaws required a longer waiting period to change president.
Mr. Chhay Eang said on Friday that the party had submitted the amended bylaws to the Interior Ministry on Thursday.
“We are waiting for the official approval from the Ministry of Interior for recognition of Articles 45 and 47 of the party’s bylaw that we amended at the extraordinary congress in March,” he said.

Interior Ministry Says It Will Use New Party Law Against CNRP

The Interior Ministry inched closer to suspending or dissolving the CNRP on Thursday as it threatened to use the hastily passed Law on Political Parties against the opposition unless the CNRP took action—while refusing to specify what steps were required.
“I want to clarify that any further measures we take will be based on the Law on Political Parties,” said Bun Honn, an undersecretary of state at the ministry, at a news conference in Phnom Penh on Thursday. “We don’t need to say what we will do. The law says clearly what we could do and we will take that action.”
Interior Minister Sar Kheng speaks to reporters as he leaves a ceremony marking the 71st anniversary of the national police in Phnom Penh in May. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
The newly amended party law, which sprinted through parliament despite an outcry from civil society, the CNRP, and, after the fact, the U.S., E.U. and most recently the U.N., allows the ministry to temporarily suspend any party, and petition the Supreme Court to dissolve it entirely in the event that the party’s infraction is “serious.”
The dispute centers on the ministry’s claim that the CNRP violated its own bylaws when it selected new leaders at a snap congress earlier this month.
At the congress, the opposition first amended its bylaws to change its process for selecting a new permanent president, then went on to elevate Kem Sokha to that role and elected three lawmakers as deputy presidents.

Rainsy Gets 20 Months For Kem Ley Murder Claim

Piling on yet another conviction to Sam Rainsy’s expanding criminal record, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday found the former opposition leader guilty of defamation and incitement for claiming the state orchestrated last year’s murder of political analyst Kem Ley.
“The court has decided to sentence Sam Rainsy…to one year and eight months in jail and fine him 10 million riel [about $2,500] on charges of public defamation and incitement causing turmoil in society,” Judge Y Thavrak announced in the morning.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy speaks during a press conference in 2013. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
At Prime Minister Hun Sen’s request, Mr. Rainsy, who lives abroad and has been banned from returning to Cambodia, was also ordered to compensate the premier a symbolic 100 riel, or about $0.025.
The charges stem from Mr. Rainsy’s claims, which he has repeated at each step of the legal process, that the fatal shooting of Kem Ley inside a Phnom Penh convenience store in July was “an act of state-sponsored terrorism.”
During the March 17 trial, Mr. Rainsy’s lawyer, Sam Sokong, argued that the comments in question were not directed at Mr. Hun Sen or anyone else in particular and so could not qualify as defamation. But Mr. Rainsy quickly sank his lawyer’s efforts by email, accusing Mr. Hun Sen himself of playing a role in the murder.
Asked about the verdict, Mr. Rainsy compared it to the grenade attack on a protest he was leading in Phnom Penh 20 years ago. The attack killed 17 people and the assailants were never captured, though an unfinished FBI investigation strongly suggested the involvement of Mr. Hun Sen’s personal bodyguard unit.

Shaken Diplomacy



A grenade attack on an opposition rally in 1997 rocked Cambodian politics, and left the U.S. ambassador in a precarious position

Prime Minister Hun Sen greets US Ambassador Kenneth QuinnPrime Minister Hun Sen, left, shakes hands with Ambassador Kenneth Quinn as US Senator John Kerry looks on during a meeting in April 1999. (Reuters)
I
t had been almost two decades since the Khmer Rouge were ousted and forced to the fringes of the country, but their reaction to the FBI’s probe into a deadly grenade attack on an opposition rally in March 1997 had officials quaking at the U.S. Embassy in the heart of Phnom Penh.

In a confidential cable to Washington on July 16, 1997, the embassy summarized a broadcast on Khmer Rouge radio months earlier that had coincided with other events to create a strong sense that the FBI agent leading the probe was at risk, prompting Ambassador Kenneth Quinn to send him on a “long weekend in Bangkok” on May 29.
On May 25, the cable said, Khmer Rouge radio had “attacked the FBI in biting terms based on ‘reports from Phnom Penh,’ accusing the agents of consorting with Vietnamese prostitutes and licking the boots of Vietnamese puppets,” a reference to the CPP, which was believed by many to be responsible for the March 30 attack that killed 17 and injured about 150.