February 14, 2018

Government unit publishes 132-page treatise on threat of ‘colour revolution’

CNRP President Kem Sokha waves the Cambodian flag as he leads a party campaign rally last June. The government yesterday released a full-throated defence of its actions to imprison Sokha and disband his party last year. Heng Chivoan

Mech Dara and Daphne Chen | The Phnom Penh Post
Publication date 14 February 2018 | 07:05 ICT

The Council of Ministers released a no-holds-barred book about its efforts to root out a purported foreign-backed “colour revolution” in Cambodia yesterday, lashing out at superpowers like the United States for supposedly trying to cause “immeasurable catastrophe” in the country.

The treatise, in 132 pages, lays out the argument for why the Cambodia National Rescue Party allegedly had to be forcibly dissolved just months ahead of national elections, rehashing and expanding many of the claims made in Cambodian People’s Party videos and speeches over the past two years.

According to CPP spokesman Sok Eysan, the council’s Press Quick Reaction Unit wrote the book “to tell the real Cambodian history”.

“It is a good example to other countries around the world which have suffered from superpowers that attempt to topple the legitimate government,” Eysan said.

Government-aligned media outlet Fresh News published the entirety of the book on its website yesterday and said 70,000 copies would be printed and disseminated.

The book paints a picture of Cambodia on the brink of war due to the actions of the CNRP and civil society organisations, which are said to be funded by “superpowers”.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen has said repeatedly that the recently ended war could reoccur in Cambodia,” the book reads. “This is not a threat or a psychological method to win over the opponent. The opposition has said that they do not possess weapons, but their words, actions and potential violence are the triggers that can initiate war.”

Despite the fact that the book offers little proof of a Western-masterminded colour revolution, Eysan said the evidence was “undeniable”.

However, analysts characterised the work as a form of propaganda designed to persuade a sceptical public of the need to dissolve the popular CNRP, which won 44 percent of the vote in the last national elections and posed the only credible challenge to the CPP in this year’s upcoming ballot.

Political commentator Meas Nee said the government was using the colour revolution narrative to paper over growing discontent caused by its inability to cope with social issues such as forced evictions, land grabs and corruption.

“When the government does not know how to control them or resolve the social issues, they use colour revolution as a term or means to suppress the people,” Nee said, a point of view seemingly shared by Interior Minister Sar Kheng in 2016, when he said the government’s “inactive management” can give rise to popular dissatisfaction.

Nee also remained unconvinced that the book would have much impact.

“Not many Cambodians enjoy reading,” he said.

Interspersed with photos of riots around the world, the book claims that the Arab Spring uprisings and colour revolutions in Eastern Europe were “organised and financed by superpowers and their allies” – just like the opposition movement in Cambodia, it claims.

As evidence, it cites photographs of US Senator John McCain at a 2013 anti-government rally in Ukraine and comments from Sam Rainsy in 2011 about how Cambodia may see unrest similar to Egypt and Tunisia. “Colour revolution is a new political tool and strategy to invade without using armed forces under the pretext of democracy and human rights,” the book reads, adding it “is not the real will of the people”.

The book also criticises media outlets Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, Voice of Democracy and Beehive Radio for exaggerating events “in order to poison the social environment”, and accuses civil society organisations like Licadho, Adhoc, the National Democracy Institute, Transparency International, Comfrel and Nicfec of being allies of the opposition.

The treatise goes on to question why Human Rights Watch has failed to call out the CNRP’s racist rhetoric against the Vietnamese, while also claiming that the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights offered refugee status to Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, and to Kem Sokha’s alleged mistress in an attempt to elicit false testimony from her.

UNOHCHR representative Simon Walker denied the claims yesterday, as did Human Rights Watch’s Phil Robertson, who said he has publicly decried racism against ethnic Vietnamese “any number of times”.

“Rather than blaming others, the CPP should look at itself,” Robertson said in an email. “CPP rule has meant seizure of land and displacement, plundering of national resources, corruption and poor government services, militarization, and scores of arrests and rights abuses – these are hardly a record that any principled organization can support.”

Licadho legal adviser Am Sam Ath and Transparency International Director Preap Kol also stressed that their organisations were nonpartisan in statements yesterday.

The book also criticises the US and EU for their reactions to the dissolution of the CNRP and the arrest of its leader, Kem Sokha. “Asia and some countries in Europe were neutral because these countries have learned about Cambodia’s situation clearly,” the book says.

In contrast, the US and EU’s reactions “are not in response to the real situation in Cambodia but to create support for the opposition party, which belongs to certain US politicians who have sustained their bias and attacked the government for years”.

The US Embassy in Phnom Penh declined to comment yesterday.

Striking a defiant tone against threats of sanctions, the document boasts that the CPP has “wide support” from the people. “They don’t support the destructive movement of the CNRP,” the book says, adding that the CPP plans to win the July election “in a landslide” – a result that is widely expected given the dissolution of the country’s only viable opposition.

The CNRP won 44 percent of the popular vote to the CPP’s 49 percent in 2013. The next-closest party also running in this year’s election, Funcinpec, won less than 4 percent.

Analyst Sebastian Strangio said the document was attempting to “enshrine” a narrative the ruling party has peddled throughout the last year – that the opposition and foreign powers were in cahoots to overthrow the government.

“For the CPP’s leaders (and indeed for their opponents), the civil war of the 1980s never really ended, and this is a document to their victory,” he said in an email. “It’s unclear how much effect this will have on public sentiment, but it could get wide circulation if it was (say) injected into the school curriculum.”

Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Cheam Channy said yesterday that he was exasperated by the government’s focus on colour revolution.

The US and EU “are not taking sides with the CNRP, but taking sides with Cambodian people. We do not stay with the superpower countries; we are following the democratic path.”


sam said...

Japan, South Korea, Singapore…need to order the 132 pages books and learn from the current dumb government of Cambodia.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

“It is a good example to other countries around the world which have suffered from superpowers that attempt to topple the legitimate government,” Eysan said.

Well...AH SVA SOK Eysan is playing words game and choose to be selective in his memory! When AH Kook Hun Cent Vietcong slave dictator ran to Vietnam and directed his military force sponsor by the Vietcong government to overthrow the Cambodian elected government in 1997! Is this the work of the Super Power too?!
AH SVA SOK is no longer credible and this Vietcong double agent can say anything because Cambodian people are witnessing the last day of dictatorship in Cambodia!!!!

The democratic world will come down hard and put tremendous pressure on the Cambodian dictator government and there is nothing AH SVA SOK can do anything about it!

KhmerBTB said...

Sok Eysan , Cambodian people have suffered from superpower like China who supported Khmer Rouge to overthrow the legitimate government and almost 2 million lives have lost during Khmer Rouge regime. The West has nothing to do with it.

Justice said...

This fake government is under both Chinese and VC Viets (communists) controlled for the last decade also and is still continuing until is all done. Chinese’s aim is to conquer the whole Southeast Asia and is already happening, why? To their own state sovereignty. So far, Chinese has 56 nations under a one roof and is still continuing to gain some more, into Kashmir, Tibet etc. Mainly, because Chinese has learned WW1 and WW2, during the opium trade, how British and US involved in their internal affairs that almost destroyed their colony. How US dropped two nuclear bombs in Japan, etc. which allowed them to be more careful of the ‘outsiders’. In other words, ‘kill them before they kill us’. Right now, Chinese already taking over South China Sea as well, the main road/supply for Southeast Asia. Doing so, is to prevent EU or US from using those neighboring countries as a station, ready to attack her and her people by using nuclear bombs or other mean of attacking them. So far, Philippine, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia etc, already signed a treaty in term of giving in or else, the Chinese will eliminate them, e.g. like to kidnap their leader and ask for ransom. Just like they did to King dumb Sihanouk, Nguyen Tung Dung and to Hun Sen.

Yet, no one can do nothing to them, because they are big and you are small. Not even EU or US can do nothing too. In fact, Chinese even owned a lot of US bank central bank and can even destroy US economy any time too. They even partner with EU and Aust in term of joining business interprise. Well, Sok Esan is just another communists’ spy, helping to rule to ruin her and her people until all is done, that’s all.

Justice said...

In 1990, Chinese warned VC if they dare play with the US, they will shoot their missiles and would destroy Vietnam within 1 hour. So, in the end, VC leaders have no choice but to run for their lives whenever they can. Just like they did so, so far and warned Hun Sen to prepare for the worst, that Chinese is closing by 2020.

Kim Ea said...

It is a boggling mind of a skulduggery administration to created a fake news and haphazard criminal group of former Khmer killer machine, who came out and twist the political reality of Khmer peaceful nation . How these small groups of female and male protesters turned to be as a color revolution ? also they tried to inflated the old propaganda speech in Australia audiences by the opposition party head to be an event of revolution march for defeat this Khmer administration ? even a fool and craziest will know that weasel speech was criminal and not to speak out in front of the public too isn't it ? To used this insane facts and enforced your pocket clown judges and court to pursued legallyand condemn them to the extent was a real fake news . If this opposition was committing treason act, Then all of your administration for so many years, colluded with Vietnam to occupied this land or now your administration accepted weapons from China to destroy Khmer innocent lives was worst than opposition party just talking to pledge sympathetic from his supporters ? Killing a chicken you don't need a rocket or machete, how about your Vietnam friends hiding forces of hundred thousand in Khmer land ? did that facts is not a treason ? One finger point to your enemy, but don't ever forget that 3 fingers point back to yourself, in is an insane ungracious team of Khmer treasonous embroil in this mafia shameless administration .