Samdech Hun Sen: Chinese Aid Helps Strengthen the Independence of Cambodia – Thursday, 24.6.2010

Posted on 27 June 2010. Filed under: Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, said that Chinese aid not only helps with the development of Cambodia, but it also helps strengthen the independence of Cambodia.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said so to the delegation of the Chinese People’s Army led by Lieutenant General Chi Wan Chun, Political Commissar of the General Armament Department of the Ministry of Defense of China in the evening of 23 June 2010 at the Council of Ministers.

“The minister in charge of accompanying the Prime Minister’s delegation, Mr. Sri Thamrong, told reporters after the meeting that Samdech Hun Sen had said that China has assisted Cambodia a lot, both with grant aid, and with loans including with loans without interest, to help restore and develop Cambodia. That aid not only assists Cambodia with the development, but also consolidates the national independence of Cambodia.

“Lieutenant General Chi Wan Chun told Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen that his visit to Cambodia at this time is to implement two obligations. The first, he was ordered by the Chinese President, Mr. Hu Jintao, to deliver 257 military trucks to Cambodia as soon as possible, also guaranteeing their 100% quality. The second task is to strengthen cooperation between both countries, especially between the troops of the two countries.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that the quick implementation, like with the speed of a rocket – of Mr. Hu Jintao’s order within 48 days, shows the good relation and cooperation between the countries, the governments, the people, and the troops of both countries.

“Lieutenant General Chi Wan Chun considers Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen as a good and real friend of the Chinese people, especially because he firmly adheres to the One-China-Policy.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen again confirmed the position of the Royal Government of Cambodia that it is the clear political position of Cambodia, since the time of the former King, and it continues for the current Royal Government of Cambodia, to adhere to the One-China-Policy without any change.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5232, 24.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 24 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #512, 24.6.2010

  • The Vietnamese President: Cambodia and Vietnam Have Good Cooperation [he said so during the private visit to Vietnam by Samdech Euv (the former King), Samdech Mae (the former Queen), and the present King]
  • The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization [NEDO] of Japan Plans to Implement Two Projects in Cambodia [setting up of modern rice milling machines at the community level, and producing clean water]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2283, 24.6.2010

  • Japan Provides Grant Aid [of about US$131 million] to Finish the Construction of the Neak Loeung Bridge [across the Mekong River on National Road 1 from Phnom Penh to Vietnam] before February 2015
  • An American Federal Court Convicted [the leader of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters – CFF] Chhun Yasith – to Life Imprisonment [for conducting an (unsuccessful) attack to overthrow the Cambodian government – on 23 and 24 July 2002, there was armed attack in Phnom Penh by the CFF to overthrow the government; during this attempt, three members of the CFF were killed, and some others were arrested; some members of the armed forces of the government and some common citizens were injured]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #689, 24.6.2010

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy: I Am Not Worried about the Warrant of the Yuon [Vietnamese] Puppet Court, as It Is a Problem of the Whole Nation [the Phnom Penh Municipal Court has published an arrest warrant for him, over the accusation of faking public documents and of spreading misinformation]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6990, 24.6.2010

  • The Ministry of Labor Published Books with Instructive Policies for the Prevention of AIDS/HIV [to promote knowledge about HIV/AIDS]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3914, 24.6.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay Encourages Factory Owners to Provide Wages to Workers Who Had a Forced Work Stoppage during the Inauguration of the Sky Road [constructed to reduce traffic jams; the owner of the TACFAT factory does not want to provide them wages for the time of work stoppage – and announced to welcome if workers report this to related institutions, and especially to the Ministry of Labor – Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #200, 24.6.2010

  • A Cambodian Official [the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong] Welcomes the Conviction of Chhun Yasith to Jail for Life for Attempting to Overthrow the Cambodian Government
  • The First Sky Road in Cambodia [built to relieve the traffic jam at the Kbal Thnol Roundabout, spending about US$7 million] Will Be Inaugurated This Morning

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5232, 24.6.2010

  • Samdech Hun Sen: Chinese Aid Helps Strengthen the Independence of Cambodia
  • Thailand Arrested More Than 200 Khmer Citizens, Accusing Them of Creating a Village in Thailand [in the district of Aranyaprathet, in the province of Srakeo, 4 km from the Cambodian-Thai border]
  • The Sydney University of Australia Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Culture to Conduct Archaeology Studies in Preah Vihear

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The Ministry of Interior Rejected Rong Chhun’s Request to Disclose the Number of Immigrants – Friday, 11.6.2010

Posted on 12 June 2010. Filed under: Week 668 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 668

“Phnom Penh: The Ministry of Interior will not respond to a request from Mr. Rong Chhun, a representative of the Cambodian Watchdog Council [he is also the president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, surprisingly not mentioned in this article], for a public information about the number of immigrants in Cambodia.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, General Khieu Sopheak, told Deum Ampil by phone on Thursday, 10 June 2010, that the Ministry of Interior does not have the right to respond to Mr. Rong Chhun’s request; the Ministry of Interior is an institution under the administration of the fourth term Royal Government that has the role to serve the citizens.

“A letter signed by Mr. Rong Chhun, a representative of the Cambodian Watchdog Council, to the Ministry of Interior and the Deum Ampil newspaper on Thursday morning says that the Cambodian Watchdog Council noticed that the number of immigrants in Cambodia keeps increasing from day to day, which worries Khmer citizens.

“The letter adds that the Cambodian Watchdog Council asked for information about the number of legal and illegal Vietnamese and Chinese immigrants living in Cambodia. The Ministry of Interior does not broadly publish the number of immigrants and does not have clear procedures to be taken against illegal immigrants living in Cambodia.

“General Khieu Sopheak responded to the letter, saying, ‘The Ministry of Interior is not under the command of that council!’

“He added that the Ministry of Interior is controlled by the fourth Royal Government under Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen as the head of government, which is obliged to serve the citizens. Therefore, the Ministry of Interior does not have the right to answer to the above request, and he asked Mr. Rong Chhun to look at himself and to see how much rights he has.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #501, 11.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 11 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #501, 11.6.2010

  • The Ministry of Interior Rejected Rong Chhun’s Request to Disclose the Number of Immigrants
  • A Woman [the wife of a military general] Was Threatened with a Gun Pointed at Her Head [by two robbers] During the Day, and More Than US$10,000 Was Taken Away [Tuol Kork, Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2272, 11.6.2010

  • Six Men and Women Were Arrested and 1,964 Drug Tablets Were Confiscated [Banteay Meanchey]
  • Many Ethnic Phnoung People Have Diarrhea, because of Alleged Lack of Sanitation [Mondolkiri]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #778, 11.6.2010

  • The World Bank Announced to Open Investigations over Corruption in the Implementation of Land Registration and the Issuing of Land Titles in Boeng Kak [financially supported by the WB]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #679, 11.6.2010

  • The Cambodian Watchdog Council Asked [the Ministry of Interior] to Disclose the Number of Immigrants in Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6979, 11.6.2010

  • [More than 100] Citizens from Chamkar Leu and Stung Trong Districts Came to Ask for Intervention from the Governor over a Land Dispute [with two companies – Kompong Cham]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #191, 10.6.2010

  • The Ministry of Information Asked Advertising Companies to Apply for Licenses or They Will Be Fined
  • The Appeals Court Dismissed [Russia’s] Request to Extradite a Russian Man [Alexander Trofimov, a tycoon] Who Had Sex with Cambodian Children [according to a confidential memo of the court; he is still involved with three other court cases in Canmbodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5221, 11.6.2010

  • The Son of the Deputy Head of the Stung Treng Police Office Drove a Car Loaded with Wood [as his car was chased by the authorities, he finally drove it] into a Police Station [and ran away over the rice fields behind the police station – Stung Treng]
  • China Will Open a Branch of a Bank [the Bank of China] in Cambodia Soon [according to the Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia]

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Improving Communication by Communicating – Sunday, 6.6.2010

Posted on 7 June 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 667 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 667

The major event during the week was the meeting of the Cambodia Development Cooperation Forum, which brought more than 100 representatives from donor countries and from international financial organizations to Cambodia, to meet with representatives of the Cambodian government. One newspaper quoted a Cambodian official as saying, before the meeting: “Cambodia Hopes to Get US$1 Billion Aid as Expected.” As expected! On the other hand, just days before this meeting, a group of local NGOs released a study with a critical call to the donor community, suggesting that donors should press the government to fulfill agreed requirements carrying out major reforms in the country and to apply Joint Monitoring Indicators defined in the past. Global Witness, the UK based monitoring agency supported by 17 trusts and foundations, 4 development organizations from different countries, and 7 governments, suggested that the donors should take “a coordinated stand against the horribly subverted dynamic of aid in Cambodia in which their country’s money props up the basic functions of the state, leaving an elite free to exploit the state’s assets for personal profit.”

There are voices saying that the pledge of about US$1 billion is a sign that the donors don’t care about critical statements – either deploring the fact of the pledges realize “as expected,” or taking the pledges as a sign of a flat endorsement of the Cambodian government’s policies. Both these opinions are wrong.

To publish critical evaluations of aid effectiveness some days before such a meeting helps to get broad attention. But to expect that it would greatly affect the meeting, assumes that the international donor delegates arrive to sit around the table and then decide on the spot how much to pledge. They all come with the results of a year’s deliberations at home, considering information and opinion gathered and discussed with others, and decisions prepared towards the meeting.

Both sides then, in the formal meeting, share their well considered long range statements:

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: The aid provided by development partners is a very important contribution for the development of Cambodia. Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that the government will use the aid effectively, adding that the government will continue to solve major problems such as corruption, land ownership, and judicial reform.”

“The World Bank country director, Ms. Annette Dixon, said, representing the donors, that she lauded the development of Cambodia since the Cambodian Development Cooperation Forum held in December 2008, but the progress of the government is still limited in terms of its work to improve strategic planing and to manage aid. She said, ‘It is important for the government to take the lead in aligning resources to development priorities.’”

That is more than a hint that the donors think that available resources are not aligned to development priorities.

What went on during the closed-door meetings may have been more mutually engaging – but the most important things will happen – or not happen – during the course of the year which starts now towards the next meeting. And it will depend on the monitoring of ongoing events and the related discussions – including the regular follow-up in the press and by government and non-government agencies’ observations.

This is a field of hard work: to observe, to analyze, to compare, to speak up, to share – regularly and consistently.

There will be questions requiring answers, and if the questions do not get answers easily, they have to be repeated and made more precise and receive follow-up, maybe again and again. This is the role of the public, and especially of the media. That is why the press is also called “the fourth power” in a state – independent also, like the three others: the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary, mutually separate, as Article 51 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia requires.

The Mirror tries to contribute to this important process.

One element of regular surprise is information like the following, which we carried during this week:

  • Oknha Ly Say Kheang, a Big Trader Destroying the Forest, Appeared in Sihanoukville after Having Escaped from Arrest for a While [he was spotted driving a luxury car and relaxing in Sihanoukville]

A fugitive from prison. Was he arrested?

  • More Than 60 Persons [police, military police, soldiers, as well as a prosecutor, a commune chief and a village chief] Surrounded a Site where a Military Captain is Storing Luxury Grade Wood [seizing 922 pieces of wood, but the owner of the wood has not been arrested]

Why 60 persons for one suspect? And he was not arrested?

  • The Authorities Seek to Arrest Citizens over a Land Dispute [with the Heng Development Company; two persons were arrested for inciting villagers to go to protest in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s residence]

“Every Khmer citizens shall be equal before the law” says Article 31 of the Constitution. But some get arrested and others not! So many cries for help trust in the highest authority of the government, carrying pictures of the Prime Minister and the First Lady. When will this confidence wear out if there are too many disappointments?

  • The Government Declared to Fight Corruption [Prime Minister Hun Sen said that there are only a handful of corrupt officials, and the government will encourage other officials to fight corruption together]

We will read it in the press.

And here is a variety of related observations:

An interesting source of income for the state reported:

  • Within Three Weeks, Nearly Riel 2 Million [approx. US$470] Has Been Charged from Those Throwing Away Rubbish in Public Places

Not much, less than US$500. There is no report how much was collected from new, big cars driving around town without neither temporary nor permanent license plates. Almost every day when I am driven around town on a motorcycle-taxi, I see some. Probably there was nothing to report because nothing is being collected from them.

The President of the National Assembly Heng Samrin Does Not Allow Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians to Visit and Monitor the Putting of Border Marker Number 270 in Takeo [at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border; the Sam Rainsy Party claims that the marker is planted on Khmer territory, while the government denies it]

Members of the National Assembly, elected by the people (The Cambodian people are the masters of their own country. All power belongs to the people – says Article 51 of the Constitution), need a permission before they can travel inside of the country? Article 40 of the Constitution sound different: Citizens’ freedom to travel, far and near, and legal settlement shall be respected. We did not reed that the parliamentarians claimed this Constitutional right.

The result:

  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Were Prevented from Visiting and Checking a Border Marker [in Takeo, as their visit was blocked by more than 30 armed forces and more than 50 local citizens]

And finally a dilemma:

  • The Opposition Party President Sam Rainsy Plans to Go to the Philippines to Meet with Parliamentarians and Democrats in Asia [at the end of this month, to welcome the newly elected president of the Philippines when he takes office]

Probably there will be many international guests there, especially from the ASEAN region. Among them politicians from Cambodia. But Mr. Sam Rainsy is facing the court in Cambodia, though he is abroad to avoid arrest – but he is free in France, and he is free to travel.

Could another politician from the ASEAN region, the former Thai Prime Minster Thaksin Shinawatra, also go to the Philippines? Maybe not. There is a search warrant for him from Interpol, and the Thai government is now in the process to send arrest warrants for Mr. Thaksin through Interpol to 187 countries, which makes it more and more difficult to travel anywhere. Except to Cambodia:

  • Cambodia Expressed [through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs] the Position Not to Extradite Thaksin to Thailand

He was convicted by a Thai court for corruption – for arranging the sale of valuable Bangkok land without bidding and at a low price, to his wife. But he left the country – “temporarily for about a week,” after paying bail – and did never return.

Everybody is equal before the law? Not quite.

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Vann Molyvann: Some Public Properties Are State Properties, but They Are under the Control of the Ruling Party – Saturday, 29.5.2010

Posted on 30 May 2010. Filed under: Week 666 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 666

“Mr. Vann Molyvann, the greatest Khmer architect since the 1960ies, recalls pleasant memories and achievements, having designed many public constructions, but it is now important in his mind that some of his greatest achievements have been changed, and the public can no longer have access to them; that means that the management and the exploitation of those achievements serve only a small group.

“Since Cambodia gained independence from France in 1953, Mr. Vann Molyvann invested all his efforts to work with Samdech Norodom Sihanouk to organize the muddy Phnom Penh city to become a modern city, but in the late 1960ies, Cambodia fell into war, and finally the country came under control of the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime, developments which had forced Mr. Vann Molyvann to flee Cambodia, leaving behind numerous works of New Khmer Architecture.

“After living abroad for more than 20 years, Mr. Vann Molyvann returned to Cambodia and continued to work as an architect, trying to organize the city of Phnom Penh with the intention to keep the Khmer architecture for a long time. Mr. Vann Molyvann had opposed some plans that destroyed the beauty of the city, like the construction of high-rise buildings near the Royal Palace, or in the historical and cultural areas in Siem Reap, which did not satisfy some officials, and they did not appreciate the idea to conserve Khmer architecture. That caused Mr. Vann Molyvann to resign from his position in the Cambodian government.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann told Mr. Tom Waiter of The Wall Street Journal that he met [when he was student of law in France] Mr. Henri Marchal, a French expert architect, working at the French School of the Far East [which was also involved in the study and restoration of Angkor Wat], and at that time he realized that he wanted to be an architect. Then Mr. Vann Molyvann was transferred to the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts – the highest institution for Arts studies, where he studied until 1950. Mr. Vann Molyvann came back to Cambodia in 1956.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann recalled that it was difficult work and a challenge the start to design some important buildings, like the Chaktomuk Conference Hall, the Independence Monument, the National Olympic Stadium, the Royal University of Phnom Penh, and especially the plan to organize Phnom Penh to become a modern city. To reorganize the city maintaining Khmer architecture was difficult, as the country had been under French colonial rule for almost 100 years, everything seemed to be full of French architecture.

“He recalls that he produced many plans for the Independence Monument and submitted them to the Head of State [Prince Sihanouk], and he was afraid to directly disagree with the Head of State about how to organize the city and other great public construction tasks in Phnom Penh. Mr. Vann Molyvann began dredging earth to fill up some areas to the south area of the Royal Palace and some other parts of Phnom Penh in order to create parks and to keep Phnom Penh clean.

“As for the National Olympic Stadium that can seat 60,000 people, it is great architecture, using Khmer style that further beautifies Phnom Penh. The Chaktomuk Conference Hall was his first plan, drafted so that it looks like an open palm leaf. The library in the Institute of Foreign Languages and the Royal University of Phnom Penh were built in Khmer style. By the early of the 1960ies, Cambodia had many great public works of constructions that were internationally admired.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann added that he had fled the country for some time when Cambodia started to have a civil war. He returned to Cambodia in 1993 and was assigned Secretary of State of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, in charge of land management, and his special work was to organize the World Heritage areas in Siem Reap cooperating with UNESCO. When Mr. Vann Molyvann opposed the constructions of some hotels and international entertainment places that affect the beauty and the Angkor scenery, some officials were not satisfied with him.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann went on to say that the government wanted him to use the resources of the Angkor area to develop Siem Reap without the participation from local citizens. In 1998, he was appointed as head of the Apsara Authority, and his role was to conserve ancient temples and the Angkor scenery. He said that three years later in 2001, there were disagreements among experts over the development and the use of ground water that can affect the stability of the base of ancient temples, and if there were no solutions, many ancient temples would collapse and could not last long. However, some powerful officials still kept to promote these developments against the ideas and the concepts of Mr. Vann Molyvann, which caused him to resign from his position.

“Now Mr. Vann Molyvann is old, and he returned recently to Cambodia and drove his own car to see the great works of architecture that he had built, like the Independence Monument, the Chaktomuk Conference Hall, the National Olympic Stadium, the National Library etc., and he found that they changed much. Real estate considered to be state property is not managed properly. It seems like the current rulers manage state properties just as they like, which does not serve the public interest.

Independence Monument and one-third built 42-stories Golden Double Tower

Independence Monument and one-third built 42-stories Golden Double Tower

“Actually, private companies built flats around the National Olympic Stadium, making it lose some areas formerly used for sports, and it affects the environment, as it blocks the free flow of air. Cambodia has not had a law regarding the turning of state property into private property, but so far, some state buildings have been transferred to private companies, but without transparent bidding processes. There was also collusion to exchange state buildings in the center of the city for places in the suburbs, based on private interests.

“With some sadness and anger, Mr. Vann Molyvann spoke out loudly that at present: the great architecture that he constructed with all his efforts for the public and for the interest of society no longer remains. Mr. Vann Molyvann said that those properties no longer belong to the state, as they are managed by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party instead.

“Mr. Vann Molyvann’s claim seems right, because nowadays, most state buildings are controlled by state institutions with officials from the ruling party in charge, like the Chaktomuk Conference Hall which is controlled by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, and the National Olympic Stadium which is controlled by the Ministry of Education, where even Khmer Kampuchea Krom people are not allowed to use those places to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the loss of Khmer Kampuchea Krom land [to Vietnam], being denied for some illogical reasons.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #38, 29-30.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 29 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #490, 29.5.2010

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Sent a Letter to the Ministry of Interior for the Second Time to Ask for Permission to Visit Two Prisoners [jailed for removing Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers in Svay Rieng]
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Lacks US$3.1 Million for the Process in 2010 [the Cambodian side of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal needed US$6.5 million; so far, US$3.4 million has been granted by Australia, the European Union, Germany, and Japan, so they still lack US$3.1 million]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2261, 29.5.2010

  • Two Groups of Citizens Continue to Accuse the Heng Development Company of Grabbing Their Land, now Asking for an Intervention from Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen and His Wife
  • Nine Teenage Boys [between 17 and 28 years old] Lured a [19 year old] Teenage Girl and Raped Her [three of them were arrested – Phnom Penh]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6968, 29-30.5.2010

  • The Authorities Used Force to Disperse Protesters from the Area at the Independence Monument [close to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s city house]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #38, 29-30.5.2010

  • Vann Molyvann: Some Public Properties Are State Properties, but They Are under the Control of the Ruling Party
  • Creating a Law to Control Political Party Budgets Would Help to Reduce the Buying of Votes and of Paying Political Activists

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5210, 29.5.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Asked the World Tourism Organization to Continue to Help Conserve Porpoises in Cambodia
  • Electricité du Cambodge Can Supply Only 250 Megawatt of Electricity, while the Demand for Consumption Is Up to 290 Megawatts [therefore, electricity is cut off at irregular times in some areas]

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The New Demonstration Law Is More Difficult Than That of 1991 Which Did Not Limit the Number of Demonstrators – Tuesday, 30.3.2010

Posted on 31 March 2010. Filed under: Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

“When the new demonstration law of Cambodia, adopted by the National Assembly in 2009, was published on Monday 29 March 2010 at the Sunway Hotel through a workshop at national level by the Ministry of Interior, officials of civil society organizations said that this new law is more difficult than the previous one.

“A senior investigating official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Mr. Chan Soveth, spoke to journalists after the workshop, saying that the limitation of the number of people to participate in a demonstration or in a strike, limited to 200, is too tight, because at each factory there are thousands of workers.

“Nevertheless, the Minister of Interior, Mr. Sar Kheng, stressed that for all demonstrations, there must be letters sent to inform the Ministry of Interior in advance, so that it can take measures for security and protection. He added that any group of persons that want to demonstrate must write a letter to their municipal authorities, where the demonstration is to happen, five days before the event, and the number of people allowed to join in a demonstration is only 200.

“Another point that is seen as a threat against those who intend to demonstrate is that the new non-violent demonstration law requires at least three representatives to attach their photos and addresses with the proposed letters. Regarding this point, civil society organization officials said that this makes it probably difficult for those who suffer from injustice or disagree with something to decide to stand as representatives, because those who were targeted in a demonstration can use tricks to put the blame on the leaders of demonstrations. They can be arrested easily as their names, photos, and addresses have already been attached to the papers to be submitted to the Ministry of Interior.

“Mr. Chan Soveth thinks that this new demonstration law imposes more difficult conditions for demonstrators and strikers than that of 1991. The law of 1991 also required to submit request letters to get a permission for a demonstration, but it did not limit the number of people who could participate. Also, the president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association [Mr. Rong Chhun], who frequently appears in demonstrations, said that most articles of the new demonstration law inhibit demonstrators from acting freely. The Constitution, the basic law of the country, clearly states that Khmer citizens have ample rights to enter politics, to demonstrate, to strike, or to assemble.

“Many people are aware that these statements exist only on the paper where the Constitution is printed. Some of those who dare [with reference to the Constitution] to demonstrate when they are not satisfied with the situation in a company, or with actions of the government, have been cruelly confronted by armed forces, when the authorities dispatched them arguing that this is done for public security reasons. Some non-government organization officials say that – because government officials in charge do not have the courage to address problems by meeting protesting citizens face-to-face – they use violent measures to suppress the citizens who act based on the Constitution. Furthermore, because the government is afraid it may get a bad reputation because of demonstrations, it decided to rather violate democratic policy.

“It is natural that people compare the actual situation of different countries implementing democratic principles, like Cambodia and Siam [Thailand]. At present, tens of thousands of red-shirt demonstrators, supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, are all over Bangkok and are shouting their slogans freely to demand the dissolution of the parliament, and of the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vijjajiva, but the armed forces did not harass them. That means that the demonstrators are allowed to express their opinions as they like. This indicates that the democratic space in Siam is wide, and citizens who oppose the government have sufficient rights to express their intentions and their positions toward their government – this is much different compared with Cambodia.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3845, 30.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #447, 30.3.2010

  • Mr. Sar Kheng Asked for Understanding for the Non-Violent Demonstration Law, while Civil Society Is Not So Satisfied with It
  • More Than 10,000 Citizens in Kompong Speu Received A/H1N1 Vaccine Injections

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2214, 30.3.2010

  • An Amleang Commune Counselor and Another Villager [representatives of the Amleang Commune residents] Were Released from Temporary Detention [they were arrested for having been in a crowd that burned down the on-site office of Oknha and Senator Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company over a land dispute]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #639, 30.3.2010

  • [The Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua Asked the Supreme Court to Delay Her Hearing until after 17 April 2010 [over a defamation court case, initiated by Prime Minister Hun Sen against her, as she is in the USA and cannot appear on 7 April 2010 as summoned by the Supreme Court]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6921, 30.3.2010

  • The Minister of Industry Launched the Construction Site of the A Tai River Hydro-Electric Dam [which will generate 246 megawatts; it might cost about US$540 million, to be invested by a Chinese company, and it is expected to be operating by 2014 – Koh Kong]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3845, 30.3.2010

  • The [Kompong Speu] Court Must Punish the Brigadier General Who Shot a Citizen [in the head], Wounding Him Seriously [just because of a minor driving mistake]
  • The New Demonstration Law Is More Difficult Than That of 1991 Which Did Not Limit the Number of Demonstrators

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #141, 30.3.2010

  • About 3,000 Cubic Meter of Wood Were Seized [the head of the Department of Forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Ty Sokun, said that about 100 loggers, including powerful people and traders, will have to face legal actions after the authorities found that they store illegally cut wood]
  • The Malaysian Petronas Petroleum Company Will Withdraw Its Investments from Cambodia [to develop petroleum resources] Next Month [it is the second company, after Shell, that withdrew in 2007 – no reason given]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5163, 30.3.2010

  • A Man Was Convicted to Serve Fifteen Years in Prison and a Woman to Twenty Years for Trafficking People to Be Prostitutes in Malaysia
  • Bangkok: Negotiations Failed [to achieve the protesters’ goal, as Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vijjajiva declined to dissolve the parliament immediately as demanded by the red shirt groups, supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] – and Gun Fire and Bomb Explosion Continue to Be Heard

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Civil Society: Public Leisure Time Activity Space for Youth Becomes Smaller but Commercial Entertainment Space Increases – Saturday, 20.2.2010

Posted on 21 February 2010. Filed under: Week 652 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 652

“Phnom Penh: Experts in youth problems said that according to their observation, public leisure time activity space for youth in the country is becoming smaller, but commercial entertainment space, such as night clubs and beer gardens, is increasing significantly.

“A civil society organization official, who asked not to be named, said early this week that youth at present lacks public space for leisure time, but they are enjoying the increasing number of night clubs, bars, Karaoke parlors, and beer gardens, where they can drink alcohol, use drugs, and find many other services.

“He emphasized, ‘When young people nowadays open their eyes, they see nothing but beer gardens and night clubs.’

“At present, Phnom Penh has 375 square kilometers, but besides around Wat Phnom, youth can hardly find other parks. Places where they can do some physical activities are the Olympic Stadium and some few small parks, but when it comes to beer gardens, night clubs, and other places providing terribly services, they can be found at every corner of the roads.

“Regarding this comment, an independent councilor and researcher of youth problems, Mr. Tong Soprach, said on 17 February 2010 that as he has noticed, the above comment seem to be true.

“According to him, present day youth problems, such as drug addiction, crimes, and sex trafficking, result from two factors: modernization and the surrounding environment. Modernization pushes youth to fall into bad habits due to the influx of other cultures, materialism, and peer pressure. That young people are easily impressed by their peers happens because of their environment. The environment for youth is formed, at present, by beer gardens, bars, and night clubs.

“He said, ‘They are easily attracted by their friends – when they open their eyes, they see such places.’

“There are hardly any places for playing sports, besides one or two, at universities and at the old stadium.

“He added, ‘There is not much public space for youth, but we see there are more beer gardens and night clubs.’

“Besides the two experts above, the coordinator of the Cambodian Youth Council, Ms. Mao Puthearoth, recognized that libraries, bookstores, places in the open air, and places for playing sports were not increased in recent years, but there are many places of entertainment attracting young people when they travel around town every day.

“She said, ‘I do not see that cinemas were changed into libraries, but several were changed into night clubs.’

“Responding to this issue, she said that the Cambodian Youth Council will ask the Ministry of Education to focus on this issue.

“She stressed, ‘We want the government to pay attention to these issues and establish a youth policy on the national level, which is now still in the status of being drafted.

“Ms. Puthearoth said that the Cambodian Youth Council is encouraging the government to create places of entertainment for youth and take youth problems into consideration, before it decides to provide licenses for any commercial entertainment places to be operated, especially night clubs and other strange places for youth.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5131, 20.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 20 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #415, 20.2.2010

  • Cambodia [the Cambodia Angkor Air company] Buys [two] Planes Worth US$40 Million [to boost the country’s tourism sector]
  • A Teacher Who Tortured Her Adopted Daughter Was Sentenced to Serve 20 Years in Prison and Her Husband to Serve 10 Years [Phnom Penh]
  • Three Nigerians Were Convicted to 16 Years Imprisonment for Drug Smuggling [Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2182, 20.2.2010

  • Police Arrested 21 Black People and Seized One Kilogram of Drugs [Phnom Penh]
  • The United Nations Called on the World to Contribute US$1.44 Billion as Aid for Haiti

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #607, 20.2.2010

  • Yuon [Vietnamese] Gangs Jointly Beat Three Khmer Siblings, Killing One and Injuring Two Others Seriously [in Vietnam]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6889, 20-21.2.2010

  • Red-Shirt Demonstrators [supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Surround a Bank in Bangkok and Are Selecting an Uniformed Guards Troop to Oppose [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva’s Groups
  • Khmer Farmers Continue to Illegally Cross the Border to Enter Thailand [to seek jobs – Battambang]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3813, 20-21.2.2010

  • Charges [over defamation regarding a conflict in a Cambodian Muslim community] against a Radio Free Asia Reporter [Mr. Sok Serey – and others he had interviewed: two local human rights defenders, and one more person] Were Dropped [because there was no “malicious intent” in the reporting, and no reason to assume that the report would be “disturbing or likely disturbing the public peace” – but another person was jailed for five months for destruction of property – Takeo]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5131, 20.2.2010

  • Civil Society: Public Leisure Time Activity Space for Youth Becomes Smaller but Commercial Entertainment Space Increases
  • The Cambodian Mine Action Center Needs US$95 Million to Support Five Year Operations [from 2010 to 2014, to clear landmines from 20,000 hectares, and to clear 100,000 hectares suspected to have mines]

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During the 6th Anniversary of Mr. Chea Vichea’s Killing, Trade Unions Can March with Flowers, but the Authorities Ban Making Political Statements – Friday, 22.1.2010

Posted on 22 January 2010. Filed under: Week 648 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 648

Note:

From Friday, 22 to Monday 25 January 2010 I plan to travel to attend the first BarCamp in Yangon/Myanmar. This may result in delays in the publication of The Mirror. Apologies.

Norbert Klein

“Phnom Penh: 22 January 2010 is the 6th anniversary since the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers was murdered in 2004 at a newsstand next to Wat Langka in Phnom Penh.

“To commemorate Mr. Chea Vichea, considered by workers as a hero for demanding rights and freedoms for them, trade union leaders, his family, and relatives, and his friends prepare to march with flowers on Friday 22 January 2010 at 8:30 a.m. from the trade union headquarters at House 16A, Street 360, Boeng Keng Kang III, Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh. 300 officials and members of the trade union and will join the event.

“The head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers, the younger brother of Mr. Chea Vichea, Mr. Chea Mony, said that the trade union, like in previous years, will go to place flowers at the newsstand next to Wat Langaka, where Mr. Chea Vichea was shot dead.

“Mr. Chea Mony added that to place flowers to commemorate Mr. Chea Vichea in the morning of 22 January 2010 is a message to convey to the Cambodian government that six years have passed, but the real murderers who shot dead this trade union leader, who supported the opposition party, have not been prosecuted.

“It should be noted that the Phnom Penh authorities do not oppose this march to present flowers to commemorate Mr. Chea Vichea in the morning of 22 January 2010. But according to a decision that the Minister of Interior, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, has just signed to give the permission, the authorities warned that the trade union must not take the opportunity of the commemoration day to do anythings else. That means the authorities forbid the trade union from raising banners or calling out slogans. Especially, the trade union should not use the forum to make political statements. The ceremony on 22 January 2010 is just to place flowers and to light incense sticks at the newsstand. In addition, those who will participate in the event will not be allowed to march in front of the residence of Prime Minister Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen near the Independence Monument, 200 to 300 meters from the newsstand next to Wat Langka.

“However, Mr. Chea Mony called on the authorities of the government again to take action to arrest the real murderers and punish them. His trade union sets one year from now on as a deadline for the authorities of the government to identify and arrest the real murderers to be convicted – otherwise the trade union will appeal to workers countrywide to strike, not going to work.

“Regarding the appeal for the arrest of the murderers to convict them, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, General Khieu Sopheak, said that the authorities do not stay still, but are seeking to arrest the murderers, and the police has not yet closed this sensitive case.

“General Khieu Sopheak added that those appealing for the arrest of the murderers can just say so, but they do not give any testimony or evidence to guide the authorities.

“It should be remembered that after Mr. Chea Vichea was murdered on 22 January 2004, one week later, on 28 January 2004, Cambodian police arrested two men: Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, and sent them to court for questioning. Later on, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced them to jail to serve 20 years in prison. However, both Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun denied that they killed Mr. Chea Vichea. Local and international human rights organizations and Mr. Chea Vichea’s family all considered Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun as set up to hide the real murderers.

“At last, on 31 December 2008, the Supreme Court issued a decision to release the accused Boun Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun temporarily. Also, the Supreme Court sent the murder case of Mr. Chea Vichea back to the Appeals Court to re-open the investigations again.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5106, 22.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 22 January 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2157, 22.1.2010

  • The Chinese Ambassador: China Never Supported Democratic Kampuchea [Khmer Rouge regime]
  • Suspecting That His Wife Had Committed Adultery, a Man Stabbed Her in the Neck and Killed Her, and Then Cut His Own Throat, but He Did Not Die, and the Court Sent Him for 15 Years to Prison [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #586, 22.1.2010

  • [The US based organization] Human Rights Watch Said that Human Rights in Cambodia Are Now Weaker Than 10 Years ago, pointing also to the Fact Murderers Who Killed Journalists Have Never Been Arrested

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6864, 22.1.2010

  • [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra Demanded to Close the Legal Case to Expropriate His Property, while Red-Shirt Demonstrators Announced to Demonstrate on 26 February 2010

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #95, 22.1.2010

  • [About 300] Military Officials Received Praise and Certificates from Vietnam [for cooperating to seek the relics of Vietnamese soldiers who died in Cambodia]
  • Thaksin Shinawatra Has Left Cambodia while Bangkok Protested [because there was an attack by a M79 grenade at the office of the Thai army commander-in-chief]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5106, 22.1.2010

  • During the 6th Anniversary of Mr. Chea Vichea’s Killing, Trade Unions Can March with Flowers, but the Authorities Ban Making Political Statements
  • The European Union Adds a Grant of Euro 7 Million to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, to Relieve the Damage Caused by Typhoon Ketsana
  • [The American economist and Nobel Prize Winner for Economy in 2007] Professor Eric Maskin: The Downturn of the Cambodian Economy Is Not a Mistake of the Cambodian Leaders [but it happened because of the bad impact of the global economic and financial crisis]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1861, 22-24.1.2010

  • Nearly 1,000 Families of Disabled Veterans Face Food Shortage at New Land in Kompong Thom after They Had Been Evicted

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Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Vowed to Support Development and Modernization of the Defense Sector – Tuesday, 19.1.2010

Posted on 19 January 2010. Filed under: Week 648 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 648

“Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen said on 18 January 2010 that the Royal Government firmly vowed to continue any necessary support to develop and to modernize the national defense sector of Cambodia, so that it has the sufficient, full, and appropriate capacity to comply with the progress and development of the country and the world, in order to promote our Royal Cambodian Armed Forces to be able to fulfill their role and obligation effectively.

“During his speech at the inauguration of the naval base in the Chroy Chongva commune, Russey Keo, Phnom Penh, he said that the Royal Government has carried out reforms which are considered as life-and-death tasks of Cambodia, and it has strengthened the capacity of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces to fulfill their duties more effectively as fully professional and expert forces, so that it can participate in various missions.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that the implementation of these reforms aims at making the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces to have real skills and full capacity to continue to actively cooperate with the international community to prevent and combat terrorisms and other turmoil in the country and abroad, by being committed to implement all necessary measures to effectively prevent and suppress all types of crimes, such as drug smuggling and drug abuse, the trafficking of women and children, robbery, rape, and other offenses that trigger fear in the society and that create instability in Cambodia.

“Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen added that the Royal Government continues to encourage the thorough implementation of various reforms that have been planned so that they become more intensive and fundamental, including the careful and accurate checking of the number of soldiers, and the promotion of their capacity and solidarity, aiming to strengthen the quality and loyalty towards the nation, and to ensure that discipline and clean ethics are respected, with professionalism, and in order to fulfill their duties to protect the territorial integrity of land, sea, and air space, to guarantee national security, national independence, and sovereignty, so as to maintain public order and to protect all achievements of the nation under whatever the circumstances may be.

“As part of caring for the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, the Royal Government of Cambodia has set up various policies to strengthen a sustainable social safety net, attempting to improve the livelihood of the military personnel and to help them to live happily as civil servants with their families and in their communities. Those measures include vocational training, addressing the problems of the livelihood for discharged soldiers, retired soldiers, soldiers who are not able to continue to work, or handicapped soldiers, and the families of soldiers who offered to sacrifice their lives, now offering them social concession land so that those veterans as well as their families have land to build houses, to create other jobs, and to do land cultivation to support their families and to be able to contribute to national productivity, to promote a stable basis for their lives.

[…]

“Samdech Hun Sen said that in the meantime, the Royal Government always adheres to the policy to consolidate security, stability, and public order for the country in a sustainable way.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2154, 19.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #391, 19.1.2010

  • The UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur [Mr. Surya Subedi] Said that He Does Not Intend to Criticize Cambodia but He Just Wants to Contribute to Cambodia’s Development
  • The Human Rights Party Parliamentarians Asked Thailand Not to Shoot and Kill Khmer Citizens [who illegally enter Thai territory]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2154, 19.1.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Vowed to Support the Development and Modernization of the Defense Sector
  • [Director of Sambok Khmum Radio] Mam Sonando: The 26 Seats of the Sam Rainsy Party Might Melt Away if It Does Not Unite [with other democrats]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #720, 19.1.2010

  • Siam [Thailand] Sends All Kinds of Weapons, Food, and Five Regiments to Prepare for Fighting at the Border

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #583, 19.1.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Wore His Five Stars in Public for the First Time while the Border Situation Is Tense

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6861, 19.1.2010

  • [Two] Murderers Who Shot Dead an Anti-Drug Official in Kompong Cham Were Arrested [one of them admitted that it was due to rancor, because the victim had looked down on his family – Kompong Cham]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #92, 19.1.2010

  • Viettel Tests Using 3G Service before Providing Them Next Year

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5103, 19.1.2010

  • The Svay Rieng Authorities Warned They Will Take Action [according to the law] against the Sam Rainsy Party [if its officials maintain their intention to visit two villagers held over the removal of border markers]
  • 66-Year-Old Man Lured Two Girls and Raped Them; One of Them Is His 12-Year-Old Granddaughter [he was arrested – Kandal]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1858, 19.1.2010

  • The Svay Rieng Court Allows Three Representatives of the Opposition Party Delegates to Visit [two] Citizens Detained over Border Issues
  • [Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Canceled His Visit to Cambodia [reason is not given; according to his advisor]

    Note:

    See “Link:” in the Mirror of last Saturday, 16.1.2010.

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Khmers from Kampuchea Krom in Vietnam and Uighurs from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China – Sunday, 27.12.2009

Posted on 28 December 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 644 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 644

The following information is not saying that the situation of the Khmer people in Kampuchea Krom – now a part of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – and the situation of the Uighur people in the People’s Republic of China is the same. There are a lot of reasons to point to the differences – but still, there are similarities in spite of the many differences in history, culture, and politics.

A brief survey of both situations is presented her, because people from both regions have been in the press during the last week. But while people in Cambodia have general information about the history why Kampuchea Krom is not part of the Kingdom of Cambodia, which leads to an understandable immediate emotional relation – from Khmers to Khmers – there were hardly any reports in the Khmer press about the asylum seekers’ background. In one report they were even called “Chinese ethnic Uighurs” – on the other hand, it is not usual in the Khmer press to speak about “Vietnamese ethnic Khmers” when referring to Khmer people from Kampuchea Krom.

The following brief information is also not claiming to be a comprehensive description of the two complex fields under discussion. Information is collected in good faith – but where there may be important omissions or mistakes, we invite our readers always to come forward with their Comments in order to present a better picture – not only in this case, but in general.

The Khmer Kampuchea Krom in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

The area of the lower Mekong Delta was inhabited by Khmers long before the arrival of the Vietnamese. In the 17th century, more and more Vietnamese people moved South, so that the Khmers in the Mekong Delta became a minority in their original environment. In 1623, King Chey Chettha II of Cambodia (1618-1628) allowed Vietnamese refugees fleeing the Trịnh-Nguyễn War [Trinh-Nguyen War] in Vietnam to settle in the area of Prey Nokor. In 1698, Nguyễn Hữu Cảnh [Nguyen Huu Canh] was sent by the Nguyen rulers of Huế [Hue] to set up Vietnamese administrative structures, separating the Mekong Delta from the rest of Cambodia. Cambodia had no energy to resist this gradual Vietnamization, because it used more of its energy for a conflicts with Thailand. By 1698, the area had a Vietnamese administration.

Before that, Prey Nokor had been the most important access to the sea for Cambodia. Under the name of Sài Gòn [Saigon], it became the capital of the French colony of Cochinchina.

In 1939, Jules Brevié as head of the French administration, draw a line on the map basically do delineate the maritime borders between Cochinchina and Cambodia, but this “Brevié Line” was also used, when Cambodia gained independence from France, to set the border between South Vietnam and Cambodia. Saigon became the capital of South Vietnam from 1954 to 1975, and in 1976, it was named Hồ Chí Minh City [Ho Chi Minh City]. And with it, the originally Khmer inhabited Mekong Delta became Vietnam.

According to Vietnamese statistics, now there are more than 1 million Khmer Krom in Vietnam.

The Uighurs [also Uygurs or Uigurs] in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China

The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region [新疆维吾尔自治区] “spans over 1.6 million sq. km and borders Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, has abundant oil reserves and is China’s largest natural gas-producing region. It administers most of Aksai Chin, a territory formally part of Kashmir’s Ladakh region over which India claims sovereignty since 1962.

“‘Xinjiang’ literally means ‘New Frontier,’ a name given [only as late as 1884] during the Qing Dynasty [清朝 – 1644 to 1912]. It is home to a number of different ethnic groups and major ethnic groups include Uyghur, Han, Kazakh, Hui, Kyrgyz and Mongol [in the extreme North-West of present day China]. Older English-language reference works often refer to the area as Chinese Turkestan, Sinkiang and East Turkestan…

“With a documented history of at least 2,500 years, and a succession of different peoples and empires vying for control over the territory, Xinjiang has been, and continues to be, a focal point of ethnic tensions well into the beginning of the 21st century.” [Main source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xinjiang]

The 13th century European-Venetian traveler to China, Marco Polo, described the region as Turkistan. One part of the vast “region became part of the Russian Empire in 1860, as Russian Turkestan [Туркестанский Край], later as the Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union, then split into the Kazakh SSR (Kazakhstan), Kyrgyz SSR (Kyrgyzstan), Tajik SSR (Tajikistan), Turkmen SSR (Turkmenistan) and Uzbek SSR (Uzbekistan). After the collapse of the Soviet Union, these republics gained their independence.” [Main source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkestan]

The eastern section of the area, inhabited by Uighur speaking people – a Turkic language, related to the Turkish language and completely unrelated to Chinese – did not gain political independence, as it had become part of China in 1884, after China had conquered the region, established it as Xinjiang (“new frontier”) as a province; as the name shows, it was clearly identified as a newly acquired border region.

A rebellion in 1933 tried to gain independence by establishing the First East Turkistan Republic – only for a brief time.

Another rebellion in 1943 established the Second East Turkistan Republic, from 1944 to 1949. During this uprising, a brother of Mao Tse-Tung, Mao Ze-min, was killed. The Second East Turkistan Republic came to an end when the Chinese People’s Liberation Army entered the region, and it was renamed in 1955 as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. (As it was now part of the People’s Republic of China, it could also be used in 1964 to test the first Chinese nuclear explosion.)

Having been made a part of the People’s Republic of China, this opened also a steady stream of Han-Chinese immigrants into the Uighur region.

The fear of Uighurs to lose their social and economic role in their own region, including their cultural and religious identities – the Uighurs are traditionally Muslim – led to a series of violent clashes. In 1962, 60,000 people fled to the Soviet Union and were accepted as refugees, there were student demonstrations in the 1980ies, in 1990 there was an uprising that resulted in 50 people being killed. In 1997, 30 Uighurs were executed as suspected separatists.

The ethnic tensions, which also let to the establishment of an East Turkestan Independence Movement, saw a newly element added recently, relating to some international Islamist-fundamentalist terrorist movements. As the long history of the Uighur struggle to have their own identity respected shows, present day terrorist elements cannot be called to be the main problem of ethnic self determination – which does not necessarily mean political separation. But the problems became more complicated during the last conflicts in 2009: some Han Chinese voices in the Uighur region are reported to reject the policy of the state to accept a certain autonomy of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as discriminatory against non-Uighur – Chinese – immigrants.

Some officials of the Cambodian government claimed that the 20 Uighurs, who were forced to be sent to China were treated like this, because they were illegal immigrants who had not entered the country with proper documents. That is what hundreds of thousands of Cambodians did, who fled the country to Thailand during and after the Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia.

Now there are 24 Khmer people from Kampuchea Krom who were deported from Thailand as illegal immigrants – but as a first step, the Poipet authorities rejected to provide shelter for them, as some seem originate from within the country. But not all. Six of them arrived now in Phnom Penh to seek assistance from the government and the UNHCR to receive Khmer nationality. In whatever way they came to Thailand and were sent to Cambodia – if they came from Kampuchea Krom, they are Vietnamese citizens (whether they carry identity papers or passports from where they came from or not). As they are Khmer, the Thai authorities could send these “illegals” to Cambodia, hoping they will get Cambodian citizenship and will not be repatriated to Vietnam.

The twenty Uighurs did not have such a place of origin to go to, they had fled their place of origin. There were no reports that they had been personally identified as having committed crimes – there were two children among them! – but they were sent to China.

But they were not “Chinese ethnic Uighurs” – unless we also call the six Khmer people asking for Cambodian nationality “Vietnamese.” And in both cases it is similarly difficult to see why one should – as some commentators say – “Just leave them to their government.” In both cases, the history, which they carry in their lives, is more complex than to be appropriately dealt with, using such simpleminded advice.

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The Prime Minister Said that to Summon More Khmer Rouge Leaders for Questioning Is Fatal – Friday, 4.12.2009

Posted on 5 December 2009. Filed under: Week 641 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 641

“The Prime Minister said, ‘Some do take the opportunity to use the Khmer Rouge court again and again… it is a fatal case. I do not interfere in the court affairs, but the court did not put off the war [with the Khmer Rouge]; and be careful, in case the court creates war and division in the society again…’

“This statement was made by Prime Minister Hun Sen again on 3 December 2009 during the 27th International Day of Disabled Persons in Phnom Penh, in relation to the intention of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to summon more people to testify.

“On 30 November 2009, the lawyer of a Khmer Rouge leader demanded that the investigating judges of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal question Prime Minister Hun Sen and some government officials, for having politically interfered in the affairs of this court. But yesterday, the head of the government, Mr. Hun Sen, stated that he does not interfere in the court affairs, but he just pointed to intentions to destroy the peace, which could hardly be recovered by summoning more former Khmer Rough leaders for questioning. This kind of an expression of concern is considered by a foreign defense lawyer of a former Khmer Rouge leader to be a criminal offense.

“Nuon Chea’s defense lawyer mentioned Prime Minister Hun Sen’s words, saying in September 2009, that the Prime Minister stated that he himself fled from the communist regime in 1977, adding that witnesses do not need to testify at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

“Nuon Chea’s defense lawyer, Mr. Michael Pestman, said to the news agency AFP and was quoted by the Phnom Penh Post, for their publication on 30 November 2009, as saying, ‘Mr. Hun Sen really told all summoned witnesses that they do not need to cooperate with the tribunal. That means he committed a criminal offense and it seriously affects the legal investigations of this court.’

“A similar suggestion, which AFP had received, mentioned the words of government officials they had used in October 2009 that the six parliamentarians and high ranking officials of the government, summoned by this court, do not need to testify.

“Mr. Pestman added, ‘Mr. Hun Sen’s statement is affecting the hearings to seek justice for our clients, because those government officials are direct witnesses whom we need for this process.’ He added, ‘At least, these words can weaken the legitimacy of the court.’

‘Yesterday morning, Mr. Hun Sen did not exactly refer to any Khmer or foreign lawyers, prosecutors, or judges, but stressed that this measure intends just to provoke turmoil in Cambodia.

“Mr. Hun Sen said, ‘They try to create turmoil in order to exploit the benefits for themselves.’

“After the celebration of the International Day of Disabled Persons yesterday, Mr. Hun Sen said, ‘From 1993 till now, when Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea, and other leaders of the Khmer Rouge cabinet arrived back, we considered this as the stage where the political and military organizations of the Khmer Rouge had been dissolved.’

“Mr. Hun Sen added that he would rather let the Khmer Rouge Tribunal fail, than would he let it to create a new war in Cambodia. He stated, ‘A hearing is just a hearing, but the peace must be kept also, and national unity must be maintained. You must balance these. Do not play with them, it can be fatal; and 100,000 to 200,000 people would die if there would be war again; who will then call the Khmer Rouge, or go to call them back from the forest again? I am old now. When I went to call the brothers and sisters [the former Khmer Rouge people] back from the forest, I was not yet 50 years old… I would rather let the court fail, but I will not let war break out. I want to say this clearly to the people. If the court fails, let it be.’

“Mr. Hun Sen is the 7th person who was to be summoned to testify.

“Even though Mr. Hun Sen is worried about the breaking out of war again because of the summons for more former Khmer Rouge leaders, the former prime minister of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea in the 1980s, Mr. Pen Sovann, supports the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to summon more former Khmer Rouge leaders to testify, who are now high ranking officials of the Cambodian People’s Party.

“On 8 October 2009, Mr. Pen Sovann told Khmer Machas Srok related to this case that the Khmer Rouge Tribunal is an independent and professional court which can provide justice to Khmer citizens who are victims of the Khmer Rouge. He said, ‘Nobody who was involved in the past Khmer Rouge history, no politician, should interfere in this court, because this court is independent… I support this court as it has its rights, its independence, and its role.’

“Prime Minister Hun Sen frequently warned that there will be instability if this court continues to summon more former Khmer Rouge leaders for questioning. But Mr. Pen Sovann claimed that there will not be any instability. He went on to say, ‘I think that this could not happen. It is only the personal opinion of Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen; he wants to protect persons of the former the Khmer Rouge Regime.’

“The four top former Khmer Rouge leaders, who are at present already being detained, are the former head of state, Mr. Khieu Samphan; the former president of the National Assembly, Mr. Nuon Chea; the former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ieng Sary; and the former Minister of Social Affairs, Ms. Ieng Thirith; in addition, there is also the former S-21 (Tuol Sleng) prison chief Duch, who was a middle level leader, who was brought first to the hearings.

“On 7 October 2009, the French investigating judge, Mr. Marcel Lemonde, and also a co-judge of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, summoned six high ranking officials of the Cambodian People’s Party to give testimony. Those six officials are the president of the Senate and of the Cambodian People’s Party, Mr. Chea Sim; the honorary president of the Cambodian People’s Party and president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin; the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Keat Chhon; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong; and two other senators, Mr. Sim Ka and Mr. Ouk Bunchhoeun. Mr. Hun Sen is the 7th person of the Cambodian People’s Party who was summoned for questioning and to testify.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #546, 4.12.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 4 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #353, 4.12.2009

  • Samdech Dekchor: I Would rather Let the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Fail Than Let the Country Fall into War Again
  • The Prime Minister Encourages the Provision of Job Opportunities to Disabled People [he said this during the celebration of the International Day of Disabled Persons; at present there are 19,232 disabled people in Cambodia; their rate declined from 2% in 1998 to 1.4% in 2008]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2115, 4.12.2009

  • The Number of People Infected with A/H1N1 Increased to 480 [and there were five deaths]
  • An American Official [Ms. Diane Whitten from the US embassy in Phnom Penh] Wants That More Khmer Students Study in the United States [and return to develop the country]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #689, 4.12.2009

  • The United States Helps to Prepare the Angkor Guard Military Exercises in 2010 in Cambodia, with 23 Countries Participating [US$1,800,000 was granted to prepare an area for the exercises]
  • The Ministry of Health Closed Three Clinics within One Week [the Beijing Clinic in Ratanakiri, and the Russey Keo, and the Bopha Meas Clinics in Phnom Penh, where recently patients died because of neglect, and for not following some principles of the Ministry of Health] while Some Big State Hospitals Are Privatized

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #546, 4.12.2009

  • The Prime Minister Said that to Summon More Khmer Rouge Leaders for Questioning Is Fatal

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6822, 4.12.2009

  • The Former Malaysian Prime Minister Brings Donations for Cambodian Muslim People Who Suffered from a Big Fire [in Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #60, 4.12.2009

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen: I Do Not Interfere in the Court [of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]
  • Foreign Investment Dropped by Almost 100% in October this Year [the investment was only US$15.5 million while last year during the same month, it amounted to US$869.8 million; according to the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), it declined due to the collapse of banks where many investors had asked for loans for investment]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5064, 4.12.2009

  • Cambodia Denied that Deputy Prime Minister Sok An Went to Welcome the Mother of the Thai [alleged] Spy at the Airport [when she came to visit her son]
  • Cambodia Asked the Former Malaysian Prime Minister to Look at Cambodian Rice [for possible export to Malaysia]
  • A Man Rides a Bicycle across 12 Countries to Collect Donations for Cambodian Disabled Persons [Mr. Ben King, New Zealander; look at http://bikeben.com]
  • Cambodia Asked China [through a Chinese parliamentarian delegation] to Help Train Human Resources to Repair and Preserve Temples and to Find a Ship That Sank in Koh Kong [during the 14th or 15th century]
  • The First European Union – Asian Cultural Event Will Be Organized [on 4 December 2009 at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1826, 4-6.12.2009

  • The Diplomatic Dispute between Siam [Thailand] and Cambodia Is Destroying the Plan to Construct the ASEAN Railroad [to connect the ASEAN states to the South of China]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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