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China's 'long shadow' on Cambodia

Cambodia1 The New York Review of Books has a long article this week on China’s support of Cambodia, written by a longtime foreign correspondent for the French newspaper Le Figaro. The article by Francois Hauter is behind this pay wall, but here is the opening paragraph, an excerpt and the surprising ending:

In Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, the economy is going strong, but the prime minister, Hun Sen, has organized the plunder of the nation's resources for the benefit of its powerful neighbor, China, in exchange for Beijing's protection.
Cambodia was on its last legs when the Vietnamese invaded in December 1978, and they installed the new government dominated by Hun Sen, who became prime minister in 1985. A consummate survivor, he is still prime minister twenty-two years later. He did everything he could to prevent the public trial of Khmer Rouge leaders demanded by the United Nations. Why? Because although he had been placed in power by the Vietnamese, he had long since transferred his allegiance to the Chinese government, which had been the chief patron of the Khmer Rouge regime, supplying it with arms, food, training, and international backing. To put the Khmer Rouge leaders on trial would have been to denounce Chinese collaboration in the Khmer genocide. It would also have compromised certain tangible interests. "China is a very great country," Hun Sen declared recently. “If 1.3 billion Chinese were all to urinate at the same time, it would unleash a major flood. But China's leaders are doing good things with their partners.... When China gives, there are no strings attached. You can do what you want with the money.”

The Cambodian leaders did not fail to take advantage of the opportunity. State assets were sold off to the highest bidder. One scholar, François Mangin, has estimated that    between 1993 and 1999, the Cambodian government sold concessions to more than a third of Cambodia's most productive land, mainly to foreign companies engaged in commercial exploitation of forests, mineral resources, agriculture, fisheries, and tourism.

To cite just one example: Pheapimex and Wuzishan, two companies run by the best friend of Hun Sen's wife, were given rights to develop and exploit more than 1.26 million acres of forest with logistical support from Chinese firms.

The proceeds from land confiscation which primarily involves the pillage of Cambodian forests for Chinese exploitation have been used to finance the prime minister's party and his security force, which is the only well-equipped military unit in the country (other brigades are employed in the transport of timber). Money acquired dishonestly is laundered in nine casinos now operating in Poipet, a town near the Thai border. Western governments and international aid organizations, including the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, are well aware of this phenomenal corruption.

What seems to me more singular about Beijing's attitude toward Cambodia, however, is that Chinese officials have shown themselves unable to support "good" practices rather than "bad" ones. Hun Sen and his collaborators have long held Cambodia in their grip, and that has suited the Chinese Communists just fine. Beijing has also backed the despicable military government in Burma and the paranoid North Korean dictator. Whatever mad regime might serve China's interests, regardless of the suffering inflicted on the victims of those regimes, has been accepted, tolerated, and supported by the Chinese. Western diplomats have taken much satisfaction in denouncing their "cynicism."

But is it really cynicism? It is in the name of pragmatism that the Chinese do not allow moral considerations to weigh on their minds. Without any qualms, they adapt instantly to whatever situation they find, good and bad. This absolute pragmatism is the rule in the private sphere as well as for public affairs. I am reminded of what a Chinese friend told me when I expressed my exasperation at this failure to distinguish between good and evil. She answered: "My father told me, 'Be good, but not too good, or else you will die, for your place will be in Heaven, not on earth. And don't be too bad, either, or you won't deserve your place on earth." Had the balloon seller said the same thing, it might have mitigated my rage against Hun Sen's clique.


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nanheyangrouchuan, it warms the heart to know that there are those like you out there making a difference. We need to send more of your kind there as role models for the locals.

this'll also be a sure way to curb the imbreeding back in Alabama.



Cowardice act of what? Killing and beating its own people? Oh yeah, that's China and its cronies.


Honestly the West stinks to high heaven for the cowardice act. On one fine day when China is strong again, the West will shiver in fear.


I guess that confirms that you are an old man trying to play "China consultant" and looking for "sleeping dictionaries".

Thanks for confirming my portrait of you.


And you think you can get laid with your disgusting, shameless anti-Chinese diatribe?

I didn't know 6 year old could have sex.


You think those 1.3 billion people are behind you? They laugh at your elderly looks and attempts to meet local girls, they will just suck whatever knowledge you have for their benefit and give you 拉耳朵.


You are more than me? Definitely, in terms of stupidity.

China is all I've got? Not bad, 1.3 billion people behind me. What do you have? Nothing.


It's enough to know I am more than you in substance, character and purpose in life pfeffer.

China's all you got, so you must defend it till your last breath.


Doing enough damage? Like what? Flocking to China to invest? Apologizing to the Chinese government like Mattel did?

Nh, I am still waiting for you to be the martyr, the Laowai known for being arrested for holding a banner that says "China you suck! Down with the CCP!"

Of course, all you are capable of doing is sitting your fat ass in front the little computer screen and cursing China. You are probably nothing when you are offline.


You should be more concerned about who is taking mental notes at foreign chamber of commerce gatherings.

The decimation of the foreign business community will do enough damage to the CCP.


nh, you talk the talk (garbage all day long), but do you walk the walk? Show me something concrete, show me that you are not afraid of the CCP and the wrath of the Chinese by demonstrating in Beijing with a banner that says "Down with the CCP! China you suck!".

Well? Don't hide!


I know you are just a silly old man whose entire existence lies in the success of the status quo in China. My diatribe never gets old, it only gets better like a fine cheese or wine and it does plenty for you. Your psychotic responses show that my arrows still find their mark.

I can come up with scenarios regarding the collapse of China, but I'd rather focus on what to do afterwards, thus my "blueprint for permanent deconstruction". And when that happens, you shall face the music old bar fly.

I'm in your head muthaf*a


What the @#$% do you know about anything, nh? If you truly want to help China get rid of the CCP, you should organize a massive movement, something like a demonstration at the heart of Beijing - Tiananmen. How about it?

You pathetic diatribe is getting old and it is really useless. It does nothing for me or anybody. You think the PRC will collapse because of slimballs like you? Think again.

Sha Bi, get the hell out of China.


"living in a country that you hate so much."

I am actually helping China climb out of 5000 years of decay by subverting the 肛交党, er, 共产党 and by hunting down foreign scabs like you.


We are all the same, Chinese or western. Case in point, France signed oil deals with the junta.

yangchouchuan, you have been spouting bigotry and anti-Chinese garbage all over the web, I can't help but feeling sorry for you, living in a country that you hate so much.


The US and Europe have already set the example by pulling back their support, that lack of free-handedness by western corporations in Africa and SE Asia has allowed China, which has no morals or standards, to move in.

I won't leave, I'll keep on doing what I do. You are such a bum pfeffer, you can never go home boy.


The US can set an example for the PRC and the rest of the world by not supporting dicatators like the House of Saud and Karimov etc. Until then, this whole talk about the PRC being the monster (while implying the US is the angel) is just pure nonsense.


"Remember, every time you buy something made in China, you support the monsters in Beijing who support the monsters in the Sudan, North Korea and...Myanmar."

The fact that you live in the PRC (so you claim) doesn't support "the monsters in Beijing"? You brought all your stuff from the US, including food and diapers?

Again, get the hell out of the PRC.


This is the true nature of bad, dirty China and its primtive, backward ways.



11. A Chinese lawyer told me he now asks all of his Chinese clients who their foreign competitors are and then offers to see if he can put them out of business for operating illegally. This has become so lucrative for him that he does not even charge to determine if they are legal or not. He makes that determination for free and if they are, he charges a large flat fee for putting them under. He proudly gave me the name of a Seattle company I know (but do not represent) which was next on his list. He also said that come 2008, he would be suing foreign companies whose Chinese employees did not have written contracts.

Listening to NPR and reading various newsposts, apparently the 9 monks shot in Rangoon is a small tip of the iceberg. Youtube video clips are showing a raft of foreign journalists shot and monks beaten to death, satellite images are showing that villages have been razed across the countryside in a way that resembles Darfur and Zimbabwe.

We all know who is the sole benefactor of the Myanmar junta is, when is enough enough? When will the human race re-discover its humanity and shun the next summer Olympics?

Remember, every time you buy something made in China, you support the monsters in Beijing who support the monsters in the Sudan, North Korea and...Myanmar.


Nh, has the west come a long way? Yes. Is the west in any position to lecture the Chinese, the Russians and everyone else? No. Come on, you have to be either blind or stupid to believe that the west does not support or endorse dictators these days. The west, and that includes its so-called "scholars" and "journalists" certainly has a lot to offer the PRC to learn from, but when it starts pointing fingers and throwing accusations around, it sounds like a uber hypocrite, it is making a fool out of itself.

Clean up your own mess before you tell me to clean up mine.

Your ignorance and blind hatred of the PRC and everything about it certainly make you attractive to the local girls? What? You couldn't get laid in the US and that's why you came to the PRC, with your nonsense and garbage, hoping to score?

Sha Bi!


"Most of those "stories" about organ harvesting originated from one source: FLG's allegation. How has been it proved?"

You don't read the Chinese press much, I already gave you a link leading to sites that quotes Beijing justifying organ harvesting of prisoners as "repaying society", though most of the sales are to foreign customers. Maybe you read Epoch Times more than I do.

And the West is in a position to lecture China because the West has come a long way in improving the governance of western companies in foreign countries. How else do you think China has gotten such great penetration into Africa? Because it is illegal for US and EU companies to "do what is necessary" to secure contracts.

China could also refer to EU and US steps to improve environmental conditions, consumer safety and human rights but instead chooses to do things "the Chinese way" which is why China is so screwed up.

Go back to your bar, old fly.
Everyone laughs at you trying to pick up local girls half your age.


Matt, that's what I am saying: These western government officials, politicians, "scholars" and "journalists" point fingers without looking at their own country's behavior first. Doesn't Jim realize that protecting and advancing national interests through supporting dictatorships is not something exclusively confined to the PRC?

Matt Schiavenza

How is America lecturing anyone here? Tim is a journalist; he doesn't speak for the government of the United States. He simply passed along an article by a Frenchman concerning China's behavior in Cambodia.


Matt, you can't blame people for getting upset over blatant double-standard. Too often have we seen western government officials, politicians, "scholars" and "journalists" accusing the PRC of supporting and dealing with various dictatorships (i.e. "petty and cruel dictator", "outpost of tyranny" etc.). True, the PRC is doing that to advance its interests. Is it above criticism? Of course not. In a perfect world, nobody, including the Chinese, should be supporting these dictatorships. But our world isn't perfect, is it? So you see countries like the PRC, the US etc. doing this all the time.

Again I am not trying to justify what the PRC is doing, I am merely saying the west, especially the US IS IN NO POSITION to lecture the PRC on this topic. I suppose you are well versed in Chinese already, there is a Chinese saying that goes something like this: "A man who walked 50 steps is ridiculing a man who walked 100 steps for going too far". Something like that. Do you see the double standard and the hypocrisy?

America will be kept dragging into these issues unless its officials, politicians, "scholars" and "journalists" cease pointing fingers at others and making these charges and accusations only to show how hypocritical they are.


Nh, again I am not trying to justify any of the PRC's actions, again what I am saying is IT IS EXTREMELY HYPOCRITICAL AND DISGUSTING FOR THE WEST (especially the US) to lecture the Chinese or anybody else on propping up and dealing with dictatorships. What? You don't understand plain English and logic?

Most of those "stories" about organ harvesting originated from one source: FLG's allegation. How has been it proved?

When did the PRC give Karimov "unconditional money"? So I suppose it's wrong for the PRC to support Karimov but not for the US, simply because he "keep AQ and the Taliban at bay"? See? The US is not so different from the PRC or anybody else, it is always "my interests first". So who is the US/west to lecture the PRC? They have got some nerve!

"China's territorial claims over all its neighbors?" All neighbors? My understanding is the only unresolved territorial disputes the PRC has are (1) AP and Aksai Chin with India (2) those islands and islets in South China Sea. What else? The PRC and India have held several rounds of talks trying to resolve (1); as for (2) since the dispute involves many countries and entities (the PRC, Taiwan province/ROC, Vietnam, The Philippines, Malaysia and even Brunei) it has been left to the future generations.

I might be a frog in the CCP's well, but I don't engage in wonton praising or bashing of it or that of the PRC, and I don't get paid to say what I am saying. You, on the other hand (seriously, have you really been to the PRC?? You struck me as an uber uninformed, ignorant and ill-intended and malicious guy) is a paid China-basher whose job is to spy on ex-pats living in the PRC to make sure they turn out like you and the ilk of Bill Gertz, Steven Mosher and Peter Navarro. Pathetic.


Oh, yes, the US is behind everything in the world, and the white man is behind the US. It's all coming together now Keith!



"it isn't necessary to drag America into every single global issue?"

You're right, but then again, when States have its fingerprint over every global issue, it becomes hard to resist, dont you think? ;-)


Oh shuddup nanheyangrouchuan ... you probably never been to China sitting in Kaohsiung waving the little DPP flag, drinking with your FLG buddies. When's the next FLG meet-up? Hey mabbe you can clue me in on the next FLG-sponsored self-immolation so I can film it and put it on youtube for people to laugh at.

Oh well, all's swell because next year your hero Chen Shui-bien is going out of power and the world is a better place for it.


Pfeffer, may I suggest you've been in China too long? It is easy for you to justify bad actions with other (past) bad actions. This same mentality has led China down the environmental and consumer product path it is on right now.
As for organ harvesting:
Beijing's official position is that selling prisoners' organs is a way to pay back society. Never mind whether it is against their wishes or their human rights.

The Saudis actually have the US in their pockets, not the other way around, thanks to our oil corporations and how about China's efforts to woo Karimov with unconditional money? And is Karimov a dictator or trying to keep AQ and the Taliban at bay?
How about China's territorial claims over all its neighbors?

Pfeffer, you are just a frog in the CCP's well.

Matt Schiavenza

How predictable. Tim writes (or even just passes on) a critical article about China. In come the hordes with their tiresome, "yeah, but the US is worse" whining, and then of course nanheyangrouchan emerges with his knee-jerk hatred of China, and all in all we have another pissing match in the comments of a blog post that was about Cambodia for christ's sake.

Folks, is it so difficult to comprehend that both China and the US have foreign policy skeletons in their closet? That neither is above criticism? That it isn't necessary to drag America into every single global issue?


Nh, may I quote Jiang Zemin that you are "too simple, too naïve"? What makes you think the "strings" attached by western aid are nothing but "democracy and good governance"? I would not believe, not for a second that the west (especially the US) would just give aid to anyone that needs it without considering promoting and advancing its own agenda and interests, both political and commercial interests. For example, a lot of times aid comes in the form of no-interest or low-interest loans (like the Japanese ODA) that comes with preconditions such as using it to purchase goods and services from companies located in the country where the aid is from.

Past actions by the west? Come on, are you blind? It is not a thing of the past, it is right now: What about the west's continuing support of the House of Saud and Uzbek dictator Karimov today?

I am not saying some of the PRC's actions can be justified, I am just saying it is highly hypocritical and disgusting for the west to lecture the Chinese, the Russian or anyone else on "propping up dictatorships to advance one's interests".

Gulja? What the hell? Have you really been to the PRC? Organ harvesting? Oh, if you believe everything coming out of FLG and its mouthpiece Dajiyuan/Epoch Times, the CCP would have been long gone. Hey, it is still alive and kicking (some FLG ass) today. :-)



"Is anyone suggesting that the west is morally superior to the PRC and the rest of the world?"

Generally speaking, yes. Look at how African and Asian, ahem, leaders gladly take money from Beijing because in their own words "there are no strings attached such as human rights or governance improvements." The proof is in the pudding, Beijing's global clout is due to deals with people that the west shuns because of moral issues.

And what makes China worse is that it uses past actions by the west to justify its current actions. In what court of law in the world is that an acceptable defense?

Lastly: Tiananmen, Gulja, official organ harvesting, and so forth.


Alright, nh, we agree that the evil China is the worst for supporting North Korea and the good old USA comes second for supporting Saddam Hussein and the likes of Park Jung-hee and Chun Doo-hwan?

And the silver medalist is telling the gold medalist that it went too far?


"Whatever mad regime might serve China's interests, regardless of the suffering inflicted on the victims of those regimes, has been accepted, tolerated, and supported by the Chinese. Western diplomats have taken much satisfaction in denouncing their "cynicism."

Is the west better than the PRC in this regard? Not at all. The list of dictatorships supported by the US is long and everyone (maybe with the exception of some western politicians, "scholars" and "journalists", including the author of the mentioned article and this blog) knows it. Is anyone suggesting that the west is morally superior to the PRC and the rest of the world? You've got to be kidding, that is one of the most ridiculous things that I have ever heard. The funny things is, after exploiting and enslaving the whole world for several centuries, the west has the nerve to lecture the PRC and other countries today on how to treat your neighbors and other sovereign nations. Hah! "Oh-oh, it was my bad" does not do it. The truth is, everybody is driven PRIMARILY by interests, we are all the same. Before the west points fingers at the PRC, Russia and certain other countries, it should look at itself in the eye.
The PRC might be a bastard who does shady business. The west (especially the US) is worse, it is the biggest hypocrite that tells everybody "you must be good" while doing its own shady business. So essentially the message is: "Do as I say, but as I do".



None of the tin pots you listed can add up to the killing fields or N. Korea's rumored cannibal markets. And China has been offering this support for 50 years.

Bad, bad China.


"He may be a SOB, but he is our SOB." Who said that? can't remember...


A partial list of not-so-honorable "friends" backed by of Washington DC throughout the years, many are from their own backyard:
of El Salvador
of Guatemala
of Honduras
of Panama
of Chile
of El Salvador
the list goes on.


Replace "Beijing" with "Washington", "Chinese" with "Americans", "North Korea" with "Indonesia" (think Suharto regime), "Burma" with "Guatemala". (think Vinicio Cerezo) in the following paragraph. See how it works out perfectly fine? Eerie resemblance, eh?

"Beijing has also backed the despicable military government in Burma and the paranoid North Korean dictator. Whatever mad regime might serve China's interests, regardless of the suffering inflicted on the victims of those regimes, has been accepted, tolerated, and supported by the Chinese."


from the B

Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 September 2007, 06:03 GMT 07:03 UK
E-mail this to a friend Printable version
Riot police 'beat' Burmese monks
BBC graphic
Riot police have used batons to beat back protesters including monks at the Rangoon pagoda used as a rallying-point for marchers, eyewitnesses say.

They baton-charged a crowd of civilians and monks outside the Shwedagon Pagoda as demonstrators readied for a ninth day of protest marches.

Police and troops have been ringing Buddhist monasteries in the city.

Analysts fear a repeat of the violence in 1988, when troops opened fire on unarmed protestors, killing thousands.

In a further sign that the military authorities are cracking down, two key dissidents were arrested.

interviews of people inside of Burma are calling for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics if Beijing does not stop supporting the junta.

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"China Rises" is written by Tom Lasseter, the Beijing bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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