Crackdown in Cambodia Ahead of Planned Return of Opposition Leader

The party “resolutely rejects the notion that the return from exile of the CNRP leaders can be treated as ‘intention to commit armed rebellion’ as such charges have no relation neither to reality nor to legality,” she wrote on Twitter, adding, “We have No arms!”

Crackdown in Cambodia Ahead of Planned Return of Opposition Leader

Crackdown in Cambodia Ahead of Planned Return of Opposition Leader

PHNOM PENH – Cambodian authorities have launched a crackdown on activists in a move observers say is an attempt to intimidate opposition supporters ahead of the planned, but uncertain return next month from self-exile of Sam Rainsy, the acting head of the now-dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, and other opposition leaders.

Rainsy, who faces a range of charges and convictions in absentia and multiple arrest warrants, and others who fled the country following the 2017 dissolution of the CNRP, plan to return Nov. 9, which is Cambodian Independence Day and the anniversary of the day the Berlin Wall fell.

According to a CNRP list, as of midday Oct. 9, 37 activists affiliated with the party and former officials have been arrested this year and placed in pre-trial detention. Thirteen of those were arrested in September. Since then, four more members have been arrested.

More than a dozen others have been charged over the past week with incitement to commit a felony or with conspiracy to topple the government for attempts to mobilize citizens for the return of the opposition leaders.

Phay Siphan, a spokesman for Cambodia’s Council of Ministers, said the arrests were justified as those arrested had indicated they would join Rainsy on his return to stage a coup.

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Petition to the Secretary General of the United Nations

His Excellency António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations;

We, the undersigned, request your urgent intervention for the safe repatriation of Sam Rainsy, Acting President of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and his colleagues to Cambodia on November 9, 2019.

Just a month ahead, the violent rhetoric from Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia is ominous: shelling heavy weapons, dispatching troops along the border, and shooting Rainsy’s airplane etc. Over 250 CNRP’s activist members are either accused by the court or extrajudicially detained by authorities. Kem Sokha, President of the CNRP, has been in detention two years (the first year in jail; the second year under “house arrest”), the CNRP was dissolved by order of the court prior to the general election in 2018. Hun Sen stole the seats of Member of Parliament and Commune Councillors whom people voted for them, and banned 108 Cambodian citizen from involvement in politics.

These actions are unconstitutional and violating the Paris Peace Agreement of 1991 as well as international covenant on civil and political rights Cambodia has ratified.

With Paris Peace Agreement and the mandates of the United Nations, we ask that your excellency intervene to prevent a deadly confrontation from November 9, 2019 onward.

[Please click this link change.org to sign the petition.]

ឯកឧត្ដមអានតូនីយូ ហ្គូតតើរែស(António Guterres) អគ្គលេខាធិការអង្គការសហប្រជាជាតិ៖

យើងខ្ញុំដែលបានចុះហត្ថលេខាខាងក្រោម សូមស្នើសុំអន្តរាគមន៍ពីឯកឧត្ដមជាបន្ទាន់សម្រាប់ការធ្វើមាតុភូមិនិវត្តន៍របស់លោកសមរង្ស៊ី ប្រធានស្តីទីគណបក្សសង្រ្គោះជាតិនិងសហការីរបស់គាត់មកកាន់ប្រទេសកម្ពុជាវិញនៅថ្ងៃទី៩ ខែវិច្ឆិកាឆ្នាំ២០១៩ នេះ។

នៅសល់តែមួយខែទៀតទេ វោហារស័ព្ទដ៏ឃោរឃៅពីលោកនាយករដ្ឋមន្រ្តីហ៊ុនសែននៃប្រទេសកម្ពុជាប្រកដោយហឹង្សាធ្ងន់ធ្ងរគឺមានការបញ្ជាអោយបាញ់ផ្លោងអាវុធធ្ងន់ៗ បញ្ជូនកងទ័ពទៅត្រៀមចាំតាមច្រកព្រំដែន និងការបាញ់យន្តហោះដែលដឹកលោកសមរង្ស៊ី។ សកម្មជនគណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិជាង២៥០នាក់ត្រូវបានតុលាការចោទប្រកាន់ឬឃុំខ្លួនក្រៅប្រព័ន្ធច្បាប់ដោយអាជ្ញាធរ។ លោកកឹមសុខា ប្រធានគណបក្សសង្រ្គោះជាតិបានជាប់ឃុំ២ឆ្នាំ (ឆ្នាំទី១ ជាប់ពន្ធនាគារ ឆ្នាំទី២ក្រោម“ការឃុំខ្លួនក្នុងផ្ទះ”) គណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិត្រូវបានរំលាយតាមដីការបស់តុលាការមុនការបោះឆ្នោតសកលឆ្នាំ២០១៨ ។ លួចយកអាសនៈរបស់សមាជិកសភានិងសមាជិកក្រុមប្រឹក្សាឃុំ-សង្កាត់ដែលប្រជាជនបានបោះឆ្នោតអោយពួកគេ និងហាមឃាត់ពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរចំនួន ១០៨នាក់មិនអោយចូលរួមក្នុងជីវភាពនយោបាយ។

សកម្មភាពទាំងនេះគឺមិនស្របនឹងរដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញនិងរំលោភលើកិច្ចព្រមព្រៀងសន្តិភាពទីក្រុងប៉ារីសឆ្នាំ១៩៩១ ក៏ដូចជាកិច្ចព្រមព្រៀងអន្តរជាតិស្តីពីសិទ្ធិពលរដ្ឋនិងសិទ្ធិនយោបាយដែលប្រទេសកម្ពុជាបានផ្តល់សច្ចាប័ន។

ដោយមានកិច្ចព្រមព្រៀងសន្តិភាពទីក្រុងប៉ារីសនិងអាជ្ញាសិទ្ធិរបស់អង្គការសហប្រជាជាតិយើងខ្ញុំទាំងអស់គ្នាសូមស្នើសុំអោយឯកឧត្តមជួយអន្តរាគមន៍ទប់ស្កាត់ការប្រឈមមុខដាក់គ្នាស្លាប់រស់ចាប់ពីថ្ងៃទី៩ ខែវិច្ឆិកាឆ្នាំ ២០១៩ តទៅ។

[សូមមេត្តាចុច change.org ដើម្បីគាំទ្រញត្តិ]



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Chinese naval base in Cambodia

According to a draft of the deal between Phnom Penh and Beijing, China would obtain a 30-year lease on the port, as well as a permit to station troops and storing weaponry. Two piers would be newly constructed, one for Cambodian and one for Chinese use. Chinese military personnel would be allowed to carry Cambodian passports, and Cambodians at the base would be required to get official permission from China to enter the Chinese section at the base.

យោងតាមពង្រាយឯកសារដោះដូររវាងក្រុងភ្នំពេញនិងប៉េកាំង ចិននឹងជួលកំពង់ផែរយៈពេល៣០ឆ្នាំ ក៏ដូចជាការអនុញ្ញាតអោយឈរជើងទ័ពនិងស្តុកគ្រឿងសព្វាវុធ។ ផែខ្នាតតូចពីរនឹងត្រូវកសាងឡើង មួយសម្រាប់ខ្មែរនិងមួយទៀតសម្រាប់ចិនប្រើប្រាស់។ បុគ្គលិកកងទ័ពចិននឹងត្រូវអនុញ្ញាតអោយកាន់លិខិតឆ្លងដែនខ្មែរ ហើយនៅមូលដ្ឋាននោះ ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរត្រូវសុំការអនុញ្ញាតពីភាគីចិនគ្រប់ពេលបើចង់ចូលទៅក្នុងមូលដ្ឋានរបស់ចិននោះ។

Chinese naval base in Cambodia

Chinese naval base in Cambodia

Op-Ed: by Hannah Elten , October 6, 2019

The undisclosed military pact between China and Cambodia forms another significant example of China pursuing dual-use infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific – while simultaneously denying the existence of such projects. Moreover, Hun Sen’s denial of the deal demonstrates that the Cambodian government, once viewed by Western countries as a potential ally in the region, is growing ever closer to China. Lastly, Chinese access to Ream base marks another step towards a looming rivalry with India in the Pacific region.

Cambodia and China have reportedly signed a secret deal allowing Chinese military troops access to the Ream Naval Base on the Gulf of Thailand. While both Cambodia and China have denied such an agreement, recent statements made by US military officials stationed in the Asia-Pacific leave little doubt about the integrity of the report.

Developments and Denial

Cambodian officials, including Ministry of Defense spokesman General Chum Sutheat, were swift in their rejection of the suggestion that Beijing is allowed to establish a military presence in Cambodia. However, suspicions have long circulated the Dara Sakor resort, a $3.8 billion investment project entirely financed and built by the Chinese Union Development Group (UDG). The project is located near both the run down Ream Naval Base and the coastal town of Sihanoukville.

Several points indicate the veracity of the WSJ report: Around 70 km away from Ream, UDG is also constructing Dara Sakor airport, which is due to open next year and will contain a runway longer than the one at Phnom Penh airport, raising concerns that it is ultimately envisioned also to serve aircrafts of the Chinese Air Force. At Ream itself, satellite images show that an area inside the base has been recently cleared and a bridge at the entrance is being repaired, potentially in preparation for construction work.

According to a draft of the deal between Phnom Penh and Beijing, China would obtain a 30-year lease on the port, as well as a permit to station troops and storing weaponry. Two piers would be newly constructed, one for Cambodian and one for Chinese use. Chinese military personnel would be allowed to carry Cambodian passports, and Cambodians at the base would be required to get official permission from China to enter the Chinese section at the base.

Same, same – but different

The implementation of the alleged agreement seems to follow the rules of a playbook Beijing has previously used.
In the past, China had frequently denied plans for maritime infrastructure abroad, even when construction was already underway, such as in the case of its outpost in Djibouti and the creation of artificial islands in the South China Sea. Chinese scholars and political analysts do not use the term “base”, instead of naming facilities “strategic support points”, pointing out their commercial purpose and operation via state-owned companies (such as UDG). Yet, their dual-use potential is palpable. While they are unlikely to be capable of sustaining primary combat operations, they could almost certainly provide logistical support, such as fuel, to passing naval ships, long distances away from Chinese territory.

The Chinese-Cambodian agreement appears to be more agreeable towards China than similar agreements it has concluded in the wider region. It also reflects how dependent  Hun Sen’s government has become in Beijing. Cambodia, although still the recipient of large amounts of development aid from Western countries such as the US and the EU, has increasingly sidelined its relations with these countries in favour of proximity to Beijing – most likely because its loans are coming with no strings attached with regards to human rights and functioning democratic institutions. Over the past two years alone, the Cambodian government has accepted more than $600 million in loans as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Broader geopolitical implications

On a full geopolitical scale, Chinese access to Ream has the potential to accelerate growing tensions with India in the Pacific region. Itself pursuing a deep-water port at Sambang, Indonesia, at the entrance to the Malacca Strait, India might see the advantages of its presence there reduced if China encroaches on the Strait via Cambodia, without having to rely on ships stationed at Hainan island overly.

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CAMBODIA PM THREATENS TO DEPLOY TROOPS IF OPPOSITION LEADERS RETURN

Rainsy said that he would reconsider his return and his call for a popular uprising if Hun Sen released Sokha, reinstated the CNRP and organized a genuine election in the future.
Sokha has been detained for two years – the past year under house arrest – while awaiting trial on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.

០៨ តុលា ២០១៩ / 08 October 2019 – Report by Reuters (*)

(*) CAMBODIA PM THREATENS TO DEPLOY TROOPS IF OPPOSITION LEADERS RETURN

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Cambodia’s prime minister threatened on Monday to deploy the military if leaders and supporters of the disbanded main opposition party return from exile next month in what he would regard as an attempted coup d’etat.

Attempted killing by granade attack but he has survived and continued relentless struggle for Cambodia democracy.


At least 30 opposition activists have been arrested this year and accused of plotting to overthrow the government before the planned return from self-exile of Sam Rainsy, founder of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), on Nov. 9.
In a ceremony in the capital, Phnom Penh, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Rainsy’s return would be an incursion by forces seeking to overthrow his government.
Rainsy has called for an uprising against the longtime leader. Hun Sen said that if opposition leaders and supporters returned, such declarations would mean that “the army must begin to deploy and use weapons of all kinds.”
“Attack wherever they are seen, there is no need to wait for an arrest warrant or not,” he said. “Supporters are arrested whenever they are seen.”
Last year, Hun Sen extended his rule of more than three decades in an election in which his ruling party won all the seats in parliament.


The CNRP had been disbanded months before the election by the Supreme Court, following the 2017 arrest of party leader Kem Sokha.

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