Wednesday, 23.1.2008: Sam Rainsy Puts Pressure on the King to Give the Title of Hero of Workers to Chea Vichea Posthumously

Posted on 24 January 2008. Filed under: Week 544 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 544

Khieu Kanharith: A title does not come through demands

“Phnom Penh: The title of ‘hero’ should be granted to Mr. Chea Vichea posthumously. If the King does not grant this title, then the titles he has granted so far are meaningless. This is what Mr. Sam Rainsy, the opposition party leader, said while attending a garlands’ procession to Wat Langka where the former president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia was gunned down.

“Mr. Khieu Kanharith, the royal government’s spokesperson, said that such titles do not come in response to requests like Mr. Sam Rainsy said. Titles are given when the King himself wants to grant them.

“Yesterday morning, on 22 January 2008, the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia organized a ceremony to mark the anniversary of Chea Vichea’s death, who was gunned down on 22 January 2004 near Wat Langka. Mr. Sam Rainsy, the opposition party leader, attended the procession along with members of parliament of his party and more than 100 union members.

“In a public speech at the ceremony, Mr. Sam Rainsy said that Mr. Chea Vichea should be granted the title of ‘hero’ posthumously by the King, because Mr. Chea Vichea was a key activist who had helped thousands of Cambodian workers to demand their rights and freedoms.

“He continued that Mr. Chea Vichea should be granted the title posthumously, otherwise all titles granted by the King are meaningless. Mr. Sam Rainsy did not only ask the King to grant Mr. Chea Vichea a title posthumously, but he also reminded the King about bestowing titles, and then he insisted that it is necessary to find the true killers to be punished, as he considered that the detained suspects arrested by the police are not the real killers.

“Mr. Sam Rainsy added that the granting of titles at present to a number of okhnas and other sly figures only encourage their ambitions to destroy the nation and to commit corruption. Thus, if titles granted so far have been done like this, they have no value for real blameless patriots.

“Mr. Khieu Kanharith said that if the title is granted to Chea Vichea as Sam Rainsy has demanded, then there would be hundreds of titles needed for those who have sacrificed their lives for the nation and the country. We don’t mean to disrespect the dead, but Chea Vichea just helped workers to protest when there were demonstrations or irregularities in some factories only.

“Mr. Khieu Kanharith added that Chea Vichea only became very famous after his death, rather than when he was alive. Mr. Khieu Kanharith pointed to some evidence for this to be compared: if a title was to be granted to Chea Vichea, then it should also be granted to hundreds of thousands of soldiers who have died on the border, who have lived under storm, rain, and bullets, and who sacrificed their lives to the nation and to the country. They struggled to defend the country and the nation from enemy invasions. Moreover, the soldiers who had sacrificed their lives along the borders are to be highly valued for the nation and for the Cambodian people as a whole.

“Mr. Khieu Kanharith added that the granting of titles comes from the heart of the King himself. It is not done in response to demands like what Mr. Sam Rainsy wants. If Mr. Sam Rainsy appealed for the King to bestow the title on Mr. Chea Vichea, why doesn’t he ask for a title for Mr. Thun Bunly, who was a key reporter supporting his party, who was also shot dead [Notes: Murdered in May 1996 – Thun Bunly had been convicted in 1995 for insulting co-prime ministers Hun Sen and Norodom Ranariddh, and was appealing his conviction. The killing was denounced at that time as ‘despicable and cowardly’ by King Sihanouk]. This kind of demand is just exploiting an event for political gain.

“Mr. Hem Kouy, a decorated solider who received the title of hero in 1980, said that a title of hero is not obtained through demands or purchase. He explained that the title is reserved only for those who have a history of liberating the nation from a genocidal regime or from invading enemies. Those who have gone through such miserable life experiences should be given a title by the King. Mr. Hem Kouy added that if the King grants a title to a person, the name of that period will be in golden script recorded in history.

“Responding to the question whether the demand of the opposition leader will affect the King’s honor, Mr. Khieu Kanharith said that Mr. Sam Rainsy used to be a person who has always criticized the monarchy for a long time – not only he but also his father [changing from deputy prime minister to criticizing the government].” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1552, 23.01.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 23 January 2008


Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #53, 23-29.1.2008

  • Funcinpec Raises White Flag Before 2008 General Elections [Nhek Bun Chhay, secretary-general of Funcinpec, said that the amendment of the Constitution leaves Funcinpec less and less chance to participate in the elections]


Chuoy Khmer, Vol.2, #30, 23.1.2008

  • Keo Remy [vice-president of the Human Rights Party]: If the Human Rights Party Wins the 2008 Elections, It Will Give the Title of “Hero of Workers” to the Dead Chea Vichea [former leader of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia]


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1552, 23.1.2008

  • Sam Rainsy Puts Pressure on the King to Give the Title of Hero of Workers to Chea Vichea Posthumously
  • An Oknha [Thong Sarath] at Whom Two Soldiers Aimed a Gun and Prepared to Shoot Got Help from His Bodyguards on Time [the bodyguards twisted a soldier’s hand and the gun was dropped – on 22 January in a land dispute – S’ang, Kandal – the oknha takes the soldiers to court]
  • China Promises to Help Cooperate in Telecommunications through Telecom Cambodia


Khmer Amatak, Vol.9, #550, 23.1.2008

  • Hun Sen and Donors Must Study Ministry of Health’s Bids for Supplying Medicines 2008, Which Have Irregularities


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #97, 23.1.2008

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy: Most Titles Given Only to Mafia and Criminals
  • So Far, No Action Taken by Khmer Leaders against [Telecom Cambodia director] Nhek Kosal Vithyea’s Misdeeds
  • Kimsour Phirith [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Banteay Meanchey]: Corruption Makes Health Services in Cambodia Badly Decline


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3371, 23.1.2008

  • Sao Sokha [commander of National Military Police] Boasts about Constructing the Military Police Headquarters Costing More Than $1 Million without Using State Money [but asking for money from a number of businesspeople and okhnas]


Rasmei Angkor, Vol.15, #1271, 23.1.2008

  • Prime Minister: Culture of Deception Makes Funcinpec Go Down


Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4496, 23.1.2008

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Asks Cambodian King to Give Royal Title of Hero of Cambodian Workers to Mr. Chea Vichea Posthumously


Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #607, 23.1.2008

  • Joseph A. Mussomeli [US Ambassador to Cambodia]: Cambodia Is a Country Which Is Rich in Wealth [of natural resources], but It Is Ruined by Corruption
  • It Is Said that Nuth Sokhom [Minister of Health] Gets $2 Million from Bids for Supplying Medicines

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