Cambodia Announced that the United States of America Suspends Military Aid, but Said the Uighurs’ Case Should Not Be Taken as Excuse – Saturday, 3.4.2010

Posted on 4 April 2010. Filed under: Week 658 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658

“Phnom Penh: Cambodia is not surprised about the announcement of the US Department of State to suspend military aid for Cambodia. In the afternoon of 1 April 2010, during the daily press conference of the US Department of State in Washington, the spokesperson, Mr. Philip Crowley, announced the decision of the United States of America to suspend donating about 200 military trucks and trailers. According to Mr. Philip Crowley, the suspension was decided because Cambodia deported Uighurs, who had sought asylum in Cambodia, to the Beijing authorities in December 2009.

“The Spokesperson of the Cambodian government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, said, ‘This aid suspension is not a problem. If they grant it, we say thanks for it. Anyway, the trucks are not new. They are used vehicles to be provided to others, to clean out their storage. But the United States of America should not take the case of the Uighurs as an excuse to put blame on Cambodia.’ He said so to journalists in the afternoon of 2 April 2010.

“The spokesperson of the government blamed the United States of America and the UNHCR for their slow work which had not led to any results to take the Uighurs out of Cambodia to a third country – and now they put the blame on the Cambodian government! Mr. Khieu Kanharith recalled, ‘When the Uighurs were hiding in Cambodia for over one month, the Cambodian authorities did not know this. The Chinese government did not know it either. But during this period, even the UN human rights office and some US organizations could not determine whether those Uighurs were political refugees or who they were. When they saw they could not handle this, they decided to announce it to journalists.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, considered the US statement as their own decision, and an affair of the United States of America. Mr. Koy Kuong added, ‘Cambodia worked based on its rights and integrity.’

“During a previous meeting between Mr. Scott Marciel, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia, Mr. Hor Namhong, the Minister had explained to him that the expulsion of 20 Uighurs from Cambodia was just implemented according to Cambodian immigration law.

Note:

“A State Department official tells The Cable that just before the Cambodian government sent the ethnic Uighurs back to China, where they face imprisonment or worse, there were a flurry of diplomatic efforts to try to convince the Cambodians to hold off. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even phoned Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong to urge him to rethink the decision, the official said, but to no avail.”

[source]

“The deportation of 20 Uighurs from Cambodia in December 2009 is a sensitive case for the US administration. The US Department of State reacted since the beginning and used serious words. Washington even said that the decision of Cambodia to deport the Uighurs to the Beijing authorities will affect the relations between the United States of America and Cambodia.

“The spokesperson of the Cambodian government claimed that there is still no visible effect on the Cambodian-US ties due to the suspension of military aid.

“The spokesperson of the US Embassy in Cambodia, Mr. John Johnson, said that the latest announcement by the US Department of States is only related to military assistance. It is a suspension without a specific time-line. He said, ‘This is a special and worrying case. But the United States of America will continue to cooperate with Cambodia in other fields.’ According to this spokesperson, the US military aid provided to Cambodia since 2006 amounted to about US$6 million.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5167, 3.4.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 3 April 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #451, 3.4.2010

  • About US$248 Million Were Wasted due to Traffic Accidents in 2009 [according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport]
  • 309 Families from Chhlong District Protested against Land Grabbing by the Kastim Company [for prohibiting them to do farming on the land that they have been cultivating for a long time – Kratie]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2218, 3.4.2010

  • The United States of America Suspends the Donation of 200 Military Trucks to Cambodia
  • In 2009 1,717 Citizens Died from Land Traffic Accidents in Cambodia [7,022 were seriously injured; there were 12,535 accidents – according to Handicap International Belgium]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.17, #3849, 3-4.4.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Summoned Mr. Sam Rainsy for the Second Time for Questioning [over the accusation of using fake maps to document border cases, and for disinformation – he is required to appear at the court on 20 April 2010]
  • [A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Yim Sovann Expressed Regrets that the United States of America Cut Military Aid to Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6925, 3-4.4.2010

  • More Than 100 Persons Are under Arrest for Forestry Crimes [including powerful persons and wood traders – according to Mr. Ty Sokun, Director, Department of Forestry and Wildlife, Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries]
  • [Pailin Governor] Ea Chhean Sued the Pailin Forestry Chief for Colluding with Wood Traders Who Organized to Cut Trees of Some Mountains from Top to Foot
  • Four Forestry Officials Were Removed form Their Positions, and the Municipal Court Issued Arrest Warrants for Four Other Wood Traders [over illegal wood trading – Kompong Cham]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3849, 3-4.4.2010

  • The United States of America Temporarily Suspends Military Assistance, Straining the Military Ties between Both Countries Again

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5167, 3.4.2010

  • Cambodia Announced that the United States of America Suspends Military Aid, but Said the Uighurs’ Case Should Not Be Taken as Excuse
  • Phnom Penh: Laying Culverts Is More Important Than Constructing Roads [because the culvert system left from the past is almost totally ruined, which results in floods in the city]

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Report of the US Department of State Is in Line with the Actual Situation in Cambodia – Monday, 15.3.2010

Posted on 15 March 2010. Filed under: Week 656 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656

“Recently, the US Department of State assessed the human rights situation in Cambodia for 2009, saying that Cambodia progressed in the prevention of human trafficking. But the United States of America expressed some concerns, such as about the restriction of the freedom of expression, the deportation of Uighurs to China, land disputes, and the growing corruption in Cambodia.

“The report on human rights for 2009 of the US Department of State noticed that Cambodia positively promoted the rights of the disabled, and made also efforts at the national level to protect victims of human trafficking that helps the most vulnerable people. Besides this, the authorities worked to reduce serious crimes – the number of murders declined, compared to 2008. The report continues to say that the United States of America is worried about the restriction of the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press by the Cambodian government, pointing to court cases related to defamation and disinformation.

“The report continues that the United States of America is worried about land disputes, forced evictions, and corruption that frequently happens in Cambodia, while the court systems remains weak. The report of the US Department of State is not welcomed by high ranking officials of the Cambodian government, and they accused it as not being based on thorough observations. However, officials of human rights organization recognized that the report reflects the actual situation, and what is mentioned in the report is true.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia said that the Cambodia government is settling those problems, including through the adoption of an anti-corruption law soon. But meanwhile, the president of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights [LICADHO], Ms. Pong Chhiv Kek [Dr. Kek Galabru], said that in general, the work to prevent the trafficking of women and children still faces some shortages, but the government tried to do it to some extent. The other three points that are unacceptable for the United States of America are real issues, because land disputes is also recognized by the government as a major issue. The claim by non-government organization officials testifies that the situation of human rights violations in Cambodia has not improved.

“It is remembered that in late 2009, the Cambodia government arrested 20 Uighurs and forcedly deported them to China, while they were applying for asylum from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Such action caused concerns from human rights groups, voicing the concern that those Uighurs might receive the death penalty in China. Due to this deportation, the Cambodian government was strongly criticized by many local and well-known international human rights organizations.

“At present, heavy human rights violations happen in Cambodia, not different from the concerns raised in the report of the US Department of State. Typically, like in a land dispute in Kompong Thom, the authorities ordered armed forces to evict citizens without any justification, to grab land for a Yuon [Vietnamese] company. When citizens protested to protect their land and their shelters, they were shot at like animals – an unacceptable human rights violation.

“In another case, even the freedom of expression of a parliamentarian, who had expressed his opinion to protect the territorial integrity of the country, was restricted. The opposition party president and parliamentarian from Kompong Cham, Mr. Sam Rainsy, was convicted by the Svay Rieng Court to serve two years in prison and was ordered to pay millions of Riel as a fine, because he uprooted border posts at the Khmer-Yuon border in the Samroang commune, Chantrea district, Svay Rieng, while two villagers who lost their rice fields, Mr. Prum Chea and Ms. Meas Srey, were jailed unjustly.

“After all, the report of the US Department of State regarding human rights issues in Cambodia complies with the actual situation, and officials of [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s government cannot hide this. Therefore, all members of the international community and donors, especially the United States of America, should encourage the Cambodian government to respect human rights, as stated in the Constitution. That means the government should stop restrictions that violate the freedom of expression, and protect the right of living of citizens by completely stopping to use the word ‘development’ as an excuse to evict citizens from their land.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3832, 15.3.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 15 March 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #434, 14-15.3.2010

  • The Government Reacted against the US Human Rights Report That Overlooks the Efforts of Cambodia [to improve the human rights conditions]
  • US$41.5 Million for Investment Projects Were Approved in February 2010 [mostly focusing on investments in the garment sector and in agricultural product processing; in January 2010, the Council for the Development of Cambodia approved US$75 million]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2201, 14-15.3.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Informed the Public of a Temporary Relocation, in Order to Construct a New Court Building [it is relocated to the previous headquarters of the Ministry of Tourism in Tuol Svay Prey II, Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh]
  • The Republic of Korea Congratulates Cambodia after an Anti-Corruption Law Has Been Discussed and Adopted

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #744, 15.3.2010

  • Chinese Hydro-Electricity Dams Cause Drought and Environmental Destruction to the Mekong River – as [Thai] NGOs Inform the United Nations

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #626, 14-15.3.2010

  • Perpetrators Who Shot and Injured [three] Disabled People [guarding the land of the Vietnamese Tan Bien company] in Kompong Thom] Are Out of the Net of the Law, while Some Victims Do Not Dare to Return to Their Own Homes [as the authorities are seeking to arrest them because of their protests against their eviction from the land]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6908, 15.3.2010

  • Among 569 Poor Communities in Phnom Penh, for More Than 300 Their Problems Have Been Solved [through ‘development-in-place’ and through compensation – according to the municipality]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3832, 15.3.2010

  • Report of the US Department of State Is in Line with the Actual Situation in Cambodia

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #130, 15.3.2010

  • The Opposition Party President [Mr. Sam Rainsy] Was Formally Indicted at a Count for Faking Public Documents
  • Cambodia Spent US$59 Million on Electricity Bought from Thailand [about US$19 million] and Vietnam [about US$40 million] in 2009
  • More Than 1,000 Hectares of Conservation Forest Were Destroyed by Fire in Siem Reap, Pailin, and Kampot [because people slashed-and-burnt some places to claim farmland, which led to fire getting out of control]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5150, 14-15.3.2010

  • Nine Members of the European Parliament Will Visit Cambodia [from 18 to 20 March 2010, to study the political and economic situation in Cambodia]
  • France Will Help to Establish a Chemistry Laboratory for the Royal Academy of Cambodia [according to a meeting between the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, and the director of the National Scientific Research Center of France, Ms. Marie-Florence Grenier Loustalot; it might take two to three years]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1887, 15.3.2010

  • Citizens from 10 Villages in Amleang Commune, Kompong Speu, Are Struggling to Demand Their Land Back from a Company of [Senator and Oknha] Ly Yong Phat [who invests to grow sugarcane on this land]

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Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Encourages Cambodian Provinces to Cooperate with Korean Provinces – Wednesday, 27.1.2010

Posted on 28 January 2010. Filed under: Week 649 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 649

“Phnom Penh: The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, encouraged the provinces of Cambodia, especially those that have a potential for tourism, to investigate new possibilities and opportunities to cooperate with provinces of the Republic of Korea.

“The Phnom Penh – Daegu Gyeongsang Center for Culture, Tourism, and Commerce was inaugurated in the morning of 26 January 2010 – the building took 12 months to be finished, at a cost of US$8.7 million, directly financed by DKC&C Co. Ltd. and the GyeongsangBuk-Do province of Korea.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen expressed his great support and encouragement towards such cooperation that will bring new achievements that boost and promote the development of the Cambodian society and economy. Samdech Hun Sen extended a warm welcome to the governor of GyeongsangBuk-Do, Mr. Kim Kwan-Yong, and his fellow officials and the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Lee Kyung-Soo, who always pay much attention to support, facilitate, and encourage cooperation in all sectors between the two countries; he particularly thanked the government of the Republic of Korea that contributes to the development of Cambodia. Moreover, the previous official visit by the Korean President, Mr. Lee Myung-Bak, to Cambodia, encourages Korean investors to come to Cambodia, which shows clearly the strong and close friendship between Korea and Cambodia.

“Samdech Hun Sen considered this center to be a result of the Angkor-Gyeongju World Exhibition in 2006, where Cambodia and the GyeongsangBuk-Do province of the Republic of Korea cooperated to organize a world cultural exhibition in Siem Reap which was held successfully. Based on this experience, Samdech Hun Sen encouraged the provinces of Cambodia, especially those with a potential for tourism, to investigate new opportunities to cooperate with provinces of the Republic of Korea.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen said that this joint cultural center of Cambodia and Korea will display artifacts of the old and rich cultures of both countries. Samdech hopes that tourists who visit Phnom Penh will learn a lot about the cultures and traditions of Cambodia and Korea as well, as they can obtain information about various touristic sites through the many publication of this center. This center will become a place to display cultural products, sculptures, artistic objects, handcrafts, paintings, and showing the tourism potential of four priority sites: the cultural and historical sites in Phnom Penh, the seashore regions, northeast Cambodian eco-tourism sites, and Siem Reap and Angkor Wat.

“Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen added that tourism becomes a priority sector of the economic policy of Cambodia, and it is an energetic force for the development of the Cambodian society and economy. The progress in this sector actively helps to create jobs for citizens, boosts economic growth, and balances the commercial scale, and it is an important source of cash incomes. Practically, in 2008, tourist arrivals were more than 2 million, increased by 5% compared to 2007. Within 11 months of 2009, there were more than 1.9 million tourists, increased by almost 2% compared to 2008. The income from tourism increased significantly from US$578 million in 2004, to US$1,595 in 2008, employing 300,000 people and contributing 12.5% of the GDP. Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen highly assessed Korean tourists and investors, who visit and decide to invest in Cambodia in many sectors, assisting Cambodian economic development. Samdech Hun Sen highly assessed also the good cooperation between Cambodia and Korea, especially between Phnom Penh and the KyungsangBuk-Do province, which has led to proud achievements. Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen continued to say that this cultural center is a model center and an important doorway in Cambodia, which openly offers information and orientation for tourists, investors, and Korean businesses, and to the world beyond, promoting cultural relations, tourism, and commerce, between Cambodia and Korea, and other countries.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5110, 27.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #398, 27.1.2010

  • World Wildlife Fund: There Are Not More Than 30 Tigers per Country in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam [the tiger populations in the Greater Mekong Area countries, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, have plummeted to about 350 today from an estimated 1,200 in 1998]
  • Samdech Euv [the former King] and Samdech Mae [the former Queen] Donated US$3,000 to the Cambodian Red Cross

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2161, 27.1.2010

  • The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights [Mr. Surya Subedi] Expressed an Optimistic View on Cambodia [saying that the deportation of Uighurs to China was implemented to comply with the immigration law of Cambodia, and that having an expropriation law is better than not having one, but everything depends on law enforcement]
  • Siam [Thailand] Sends More Tanks opposite the Trop Mountain Again

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #590, 27.1.2010

  • [The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia] Surya Subedi Finished His Visit in Cambodia but Did Not Dare to Tell the Truth about Human Rights [violations]
  • Opposition Party President [Mr. Sam Rainsy]: Prosecuting Me Is Not Important, but Cutting [Cambodian] Territory Giving it to a Neighboring Country Is Important [the Svay Rieng court will open hearings against him and five villagers over the removal of border markers on 27 January 2009]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6868, 27.1.2010

  • [Two] Robbers Robed a Construction Businessman Pointing Pistols at Him and Beating Him on the Head, Taking Jewelry Worth US$65,000 [Phnom Penh]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #98, 27.1.2010

  • Thai Soldiers Surrounded to Arrest Six Khmer Citizens [four are women] in Ou Smach [for illegal border crossing]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5110, 27.1.2010

  • The UN Envoy [on Human Rights in Cambodia] Assessed that the Government Showed Willingness to Strengthen Human Rights in Cambodia
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Encourages Cambodian Provinces to Cooperate with Korean Provinces
  • Two People Died after Two Trucks Crashed into Each Other [Kompong Speu]

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In 2009 Tax Income Amounted to US$595 Million – Tuesday, 12.1.2010

Posted on 13 January 2010. Filed under: Week 647 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 647

“The tax department announced that in 2009, the tax income amounted to about US$595 million, approx. US$49 million per month, and in 2010 the incoming tax is expected to be about US$52 million per month.

“On 11 January 2010, the tax department held a meeting to give a comprehensive report on its work in December 2009, chaired by Dr. Pen Simon, the Director-General of Cambodian Customs, appointed by the Royal Government, with participation by other customs officers from all provinces. Dr. Pen Simon said that in December 2009, the tax income was Riel 219,000,000,000 or US$52 million, which increased by about Riel 23,000,000,000 [approx. US$5.75 million], compared to December 2008. He said that in 2009, customs officers collected about Riel 2,491,000,000,000 or approx. US$595 million in total. On average, that is about Riel 208,000,000,000 [approx. US$52 million] per month, exceeding the plan by more than 3%.

“He stressed that in 2009, customs officers suppressed illegal trafficking and imposed fines of more than Riel 23,000,000,000 (approx. US$5.5 million) which was 50% higher than 2009. Dr. Pen Simon said that in 2010, the tax administration is challenged by a plan to aim at a higher collected amount of about Riel 217,000,000,000 per month [approx. US$54 million], while the global economic and the financial crisis is strongly influencing the growth of the GDP, reducing exports leading to reduced taxes. He added that this requires the tax administration to accelerate reforms both in management, monitoring, and implementation, and in establishing more effective taxation policies and measures to suppress tax evasion.

“He requested that in 2010 customs officers in mobile tax monitoring units in all provinces have to investigate and to suppress products being trafficked effectively. Information about a basic law and other regulations recently approved have to be shared with all tax officials. Departments for tax crime prevention and suppression have to be strengthened to work efficiently. No illegal checkpoints should be established to collect money illegally. Officials have to check suspicious activities, for example of vendors who produce fake tax stamps and and fake vehicle licenses, including cases where officials are faking them. Services for the specification of vehicle identification papers have to be established quickly, in order to avoid delays because of improper reasons.

“He went on to say that in 2009, goods being moved across some special crossing point were about 20%, but there were not many crimes, and further assessment is necessary. In addition, Mr. Pen Simon told customs officers that they have to control the export and import of vegetables and fruits by vendors in general, and prepare procedures to collect taxes from already identified motorbikes on certain lists.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5097, 12.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #385, 12.1.2010

  • An Official of the Ministry of Labor Rejected the Claim of [the head of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers], Chea Mony, about Working Condition [Mr. Chea Mony claimed that there are still bad working conditions for garment workers, and there were less demonstrations and strikes because of restriction imposed by the authorities; however, the deputy director of the Department of Labor Disputes of the Ministry of Labor said that this is because most strikes did not follow the procedures of the labor law, according to which demonstrations and strikes have to be informed to the authorities in advance]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2148, 12.1.2010

  • Siamese [Thai] Soldiers Shot Dead Three Khmer Citizens at the Border [accusing them of illegally cutting down trees in Thai territory]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #715, 12.1.2010

  • Four Uighurs Deported from Cambodia Received the Death Penalty from the Chinese Authorities [12 others were imprisoned from 5 years to for the rest of their lives, and only a woman and her small child were released]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #577, 12.1.2010

  • War of Words between [the Cambodian Prime Minister] Hun Sen and [the Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva  Calmed Down while Siam [Thailand] Does Not Care about Restoring Diplomatic Ties

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6855, 12.1.2010

  • A Sugar Factory in Koh Kong Will Be Organized under the Guidance of Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen [the launching date is not yet known]
  • In 2009 Violent Crimes Decreased by 55 Cases Compared to 2008 [there were 440 cases in Phnom Penh in 2009]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.2, #87, 12.1.2010

  • Cambodia Returned the Cambodian Air Traffic Service (CATS) Back to Control of [the Thai] Samart Company [which had been suspended because control by foreigners of the company had been declared a security risk
  • [Thousands of] Red Shirt Group [supporters of the Thai ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Demonstrated against a King’s Advisor [Mr. Surayud Chulanont]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5097, 12.1.2010

  • In 2009 Tax Income Amounted to US$595 Million
  • Phnom Penh Health Officials Are Seeking Funds for Spraying Insecticide against Mosquitoes [after citizens complained there are lots of mosquitoes in the city]

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Three US Parliamentarians Come to Cambodia to Talk about Debt and Commercial Ties – Wednesday, 6.1.2010

Posted on 6 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

“Three US congressmen plan to visit Cambodia for three days, according to a Voice of America (VOA) broadcast in the morning of 5 January 2010, based on information from the Khmer ambassador to the United States, Mr. Hem Heng.

“But officials of the US Embassy in Phnom Penh told Khmer Machas Srok in the evening of 5 January 2010 that the three US congressmen will arrive in Cambodian in the evening of 5 January 2010, landing in Siem Reap first, before coming to Phnom Penh.

“The visit to Cambodia is to discuss about the debt of more than US$300 million that Cambodia owes, and about commercial ties between the two countries.

“Mr. Hem Heng added, ‘The intention of the visit to Cambodia is first, they want to discuss with Khmer leaders to solve the debt owed by Cambodia to the United States since the Lon Nol regime; second, the delegation wants to discuss about clearing unexploded bombs that America dropped during the war in the 1970ies; and third, the delegation aims to promote and to encourage trade between Cambodia and the United States.’

“The visit to Cambodia is led by Democrat Mr. Eni Faleomavaega, who represents the territory of American Samoa and is chairperson of the House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment; Mr. Mike Honda, Democrat of California; and, Mr. Joseph Cao, Republican of Virginia [born in Vietnam and immigrated to the USA as a child].

“The three delegates will meet with high-ranking officials of Cambodia, including Prime Minister Hun Sen. However, two officials who work for two of the US congressmen who plan to visit Cambodia asked not to comment to VOA about the visit due to safety concerns.

“When the visit will have been finished in three days, the three US delegates will hold a joint press conference about their visits to Cambodia, Laos, Japan, and Vietnam.

“Previously, Cambodia had asked the United States to cancel the debt of more than US$300 million that Cambodia owes since the Khmer Republic led by Field Marshal Lon Nol during the 1970ies, and recently Cambodia asked the USA not to charge taxes on products exported from Cambodia to the United States. But there is no response from the United States.

“Officials of the two countries used to say that the canceling of the debt depends on decisions by the parliaments of both countries.

“It should be noted that the deputy spokesperson of the US Department of State immediately released a statement condemning Cambodia for deporting Uighurs to the Chinese authorities, when China had granted aid and loans of about US$1.2 billion to Cambodia during a visit by the Chinese vice president.

“The statement of condemnation was issued on 21 December 2009, after the Khmer authorities deported the Uighurs back to China, following a request from the long-term communist government.

“The spokesperson of the US Department of State, Mr. Gordon Duguid, said in a statement on 19 December 2009 that the Cambodian government, following a Chinese request, forced 20 Uighur asylum seekers back to China, in what is seen as a violation of international obligations by Cambodia. The United States is concerned about the wellbeing of those people who sought asylum and protection under international law. The United States is concerned also because the Cambodian government decided to deport those people without properly checking their refugee status, and without the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees participation.

“The United States strongly opposed the deportation of the asylum seekers by Cambodia without listening to the people’s reasons. This will affect the relations between Cambodia and the United States and the reputation of Cambodia on the international arena.

“As those people were already sent back to China, the US government asks China to conform to international standards, to ensure transparency according to the law, and to properly treat those people. The US government continues to call on all relevant parties to pay attention on the importance of the respect for human rights and of the obligations under international law.

“Anyway, officials of the Cambodian government immediately issued a statement to calm the US Department of State, saying that Cambodia will continue to maintain good relations with the United States. It is likely that this problem led the three US congressmen to pay a visit to Cambodia.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #573, 6.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #380, 6.1.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Warned the Groups of People That Plan to Distribute Leaflets against the 7 January Celebrations [commemorating when the Khmer Rouge regime was overthrown in 1979]
  • The USA Scrapped the Regulation Which Prohibited People with AIDS to Enter the USA

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2143, 6.1.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor: The Removal of Temporary Border Markers [by opposition party president, Mr. Sam Rainsy] Reached a Point That Cannot Be Tolerated

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #573, 6.1.2010

  • Three US Parliamentarians Come to Cambodia to Talk about Debt and Commercial Ties

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6850, 6.1.2010

  • Nearly 300,000 Copied Porn [and illegally copied music] Discs Were Crushed to Destroy Them [Phnom Penh]
  • [Opposition Party president] Sam Rainsy Admitted from Abroad that He Removed the Temporary Border Markers [in Svay Rieng]
  • A Small Bus Overtook a Camry but Hit a Motorbike on National Road 11, Killing Two People and Injuring One Seriously [Prey Veng]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #83, 6.1.2010

  • The Prime Minister Rejected the Possibility to Tolerate the Opposition Party President’s Action over the Border Markers Case
  • Famous Hol and Phamuong [Khmer traditional] Hand-Woven Cloth Made from Silk on Koh Dach Island in Kandal Is Finished [80% of the producers in this community stopped their traditional silk weaving, as the price of silk imported from China and from Vietnam more than doubled within one year from previously US$10 per kilogram to US$40 to US$80 at present]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5092, 6.1.2010

  • [Four] Men [an Indonesian, a Malaysian, and Two Khmers] Illegally Detained Others in a Casino, Interrogated and Hit Them – Finally They Were All Arrested to Be Sent to Court [Svay Rieng]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva’s Government Approved More Than US$7 Million for Buying Materials to Handle Demonstrations by the Red-Shirt Group [supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra – the materials include plastic bullets, smoke grenades, shields, electric batons, and bullet proof vests]

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The Royal Government Requires Municipal Governors to Use Video Conferencing – Tuesday, 5.1.2010

Posted on 6 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

“Phnom Penh: To reduce expenses and to improve the efficiency of the leadership role of all provincial and municipal authorities countrywide, the Royal Government of Cambodia requires the authorities to set up video conference facilities for cabinet sessions every Fridays.

“A letter of the Council of Ministers dated 23 December 2009, sealed and signed by the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, informed all provincial and municipal governors in the Kingdom of Cambodia about Internet online meetings through the use of video conference facilities during cabinet sessions, following the wise instruction from the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, during a cabinet session on 4 December 2009.

“The letter stressed that, based on the above reasons, the Council of Ministers would like to inform all provincial and municipal governors that the Royal Government has already set up video conference devices, which allow to have direct on-line meetings with the participation from the provinces and cities. To promote the efficiency of the weekly cabinet sessions, and to ease the smooth and timely reporting, as well as to cover other urgent issues the Royal Government is facing, the Council of Ministers would like to ask all provincial and municipal governors to attend the weekly cabinet meetings through the video conference facilities, on every Fridays starting at 8:30 a.m.

“After receiving the letter, the Phnom Penh Municipality has already set up video conference facilities and started to officially operate them on 4 January 2010. Other provinces have also already made arrangements. This system is really important to connect offices outside of Phnom Penh with the Royal Government as well as with the Prime Minister. The aim of using video conferences is to enhance the efficiency of the work, and to reduce expenses of money, and to save time of the provincial and municipal governors, especially those in remote provinces. Also, the Royal Government wants to observe whether those governors work and are in the meetings, or where else they are, in order to avoid lying to the Prime Minister by just phoning, giving brief responses, now they can ask for instructions from the Prime Minister directly and on time.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6849, 5.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #379, 5.1.2010

  • Amnesty International Asked China to Disclose where the Uighurs Deported from Cambodia Are Living
  • A Lexus Hit a Three-Wheel Motor-Taxi near Calmette Hospital, Killing Two People [the offensive car was seized – Phnom Penh]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2142, 5.1.2010

  • The Prime Minister: Those Who Do Not Recognize the Importance of 7 January 1979 [when the Khmer Rouge Regime was overthrown] are Not Even Equal to Animals
  • An Anti-Drug Policeman Was Shot Dead in a Lexus [perpetrators are not yet identified – Kompong Cham]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #572, 5.1.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Said There Is a Today because of 7 January 1979 while the Opposition Party Claimed Today Exists because of 23 October 1991 [the Paris Peace Treaties which (should have) ended the civil war in Cambodia]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6849, 5.1.2010

  • The Royal Government Requires Municipal Governors to Use Video Conferencing

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.2, #82, 5.1.2010

  • [About 70] Sereypheap Market Vendors Continue to Protest in Front of the Prime Minister’s Residence [after the authorities demolished the market]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5091, 5.1.2010

  • In 2009 There Were 622 Cases of Forestry and Wildlife Violation Crimes which Were Dealt with by the Authorities [compared to 2008, there were 615 cases; according to a report of the Forestry Administration]
  • Interior Police Arrested a Person Sending Threatening Messages to Kill an Advisor of the Royal Government [Phnom Penh]
  • Siamese [Thai] Soldiers Shot to Injure a Khmer Citizen Seriously [he went to find wild vegetables – at the Cambodian Thai-border]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1848, 5.1.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party spokesperson] Mr. Yim Sovann: The Party Is Collecting Petitions from Cities and Provinces to Send Them to the King to Ask for His Intervention for Mr. Sam Rainsy [over the removal of temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers]

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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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