China is now building a naval base in Cambodia

Revelations 6:3-4 “when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

Important Takeaways:

  • The Chinese Navy’s Great Leap Forward
  • A base in Cambodia is the latest sign of Beijing’s global military ambition.
  • A new secret Chinese military base in Cambodia ought to wake up America’s political class—including the U.S. Navy brass—to what is fast becoming a global Chinese challenge.
  • Beijing has a long history of lying about its military intentions. Recall Chinese President Xi Jinping’s promise that he wouldn’t militarize the artificial islands in the South China Sea it developed during Barack Obama’s Presidency. The islands are now home to an array of advanced Chinese military equipment.
  • Earlier this year China and the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific signed a security pact.
  • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently took an eight-country tour through the South Pacific to drum up support for a security and development agreement.
  • China wants a global network of bases that would make it easier to project power. The PLA already has a base in the East African nation of Djibouti.
  • Stephen Townsend, head of U.S. Africa Command, told Congress in March that Beijing also wants a base in West Africa on the Atlantic Ocean.

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Cambodia police defend caning of lockdown offenders for breaching COVID-19 rules

By Prak Chan Thul

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Cambodian police defended on Wednesday making arrests and punishing people by beating them using rattan canes for breaching coronavirus restrictions during a two-week lockdown aimed at containing a spike in infections.

The Southeast Asian country still has one of the world’s smallest coronavirus caseloads, but an outbreak that started in late February has seen overall cases spike to 7,747 and with 54 deaths.

Phnom Penh went into lockdown on April 15 and has declared some districts “red zones,” banning people from leaving their homes except for medical reasons.

A Phnom Penh police spokesman said the caning and arrests were in order to save lives, claiming that most of the public supported them.

“The Phnom Penh administration has decided that no one is allowed to leave their homes because the area is at risk of infections,” spokesman San Sokseiha said.

“A small number of people didn’t listen, and we must take measures to save their lives,” he added.

But Cambodian human rights groups condemned the canings and arrests, saying that there were better ways to ensure people protected themselves and others from the coronavirus.

“We are shocked such severe punishments are used against people for some small infractions,” Naly Pilorge, director of rights group Licadho, said.

The Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) echoed the concerns.

“We are also dismayed at footage showing use of force by authorities against individuals. Violence is never the answer,” CCHR’s executive director Chak Sopheap said.

Cambodian Information Minister Khieu Kanharith also criticized the use of canes and said police should not use such force if perpetrators did not react violently.

“Do not forget the word serve the people,” Khieu Kanharith said on Facebook, next to pictures of police holding sticks.

(Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Editing by Ed Davies)

Cover up or be censored: Cambodia orders women not look sexy on Facebook

By Matt Blomberg

PHNOM PENH (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A crackdown in Cambodia on women who wear provocative clothing while selling goods via Facebook live streams was slammed by women’s rights groups on Wednesday as dangerous and baseless.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said low cut tops were an affront to Cambodian culture and ordered authorities to track down Facebook vendors who wear them to sell items like clothes and beauty products – a popular trend in the conservative country.

“Go to their places and order them to stop live-streaming until they change to proper clothes,” the prime minister told the government’s Cambodian National Council for Women on Monday.

“This is a violation of our culture and tradition,” he said, adding that such behaviour contributed to sexual abuse and violence against women.

While Cambodia’s young population is increasingly educated, many expect women to be submissive and quiet, a legacy of Chbap Srey, an oppressive code of conduct for women in the form of a poem that was on primary school curricula until 2007.

The national police posted a video to Facebook on Wednesday, in which a Cambodian woman makes a public apology for sullying the “tradition and honour of Cambodian women” by wearing “extremely short and sexy clothes” in her online sales pitches.

Facebook was not immediately available to comment.

Interior ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak confirmed on Wednesday that authorities were “taking action” in line with the prime minister’s orders. He referred further questions to a police spokesman who could not be reached immediately.

Amnesty International regional director Nicholas Bequelin said the prime minister’s comments were a “dangerous instance of victim blaming”.

“This rhetoric only serves to perpetuate violence against women and stigmatise survivors of gender-based violence,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

One in five Cambodian men said they had raped a woman in a 2013 United Nations survey.

Ros Sopheap, head of the charity Gender and Development for Cambodia, said the government should look at the reasons why women sell goods online instead of dictating what they wear.

“They always talk about culture, culture, culture,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “What about jobs? What about education? These things are broken in Cambodia. And what about people’s right to make a living?”

Seven Cambodian women’s rights groups pointed out that the women vendors had breached no law.

“There is no evidence-based research that affirms that women’s clothing choice is the root cause of degradation of social morality,” they said in an open letter.

(Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit

Cambodian Khmer Rouge says Westerners ‘burnt to ashes’

A Buddhist monk stands next to a glass case containing 5,000 human skulls belonging to Khmer Rouge victims as people gather to mark the 41st anniversary of the start of

By Prak Chan Thul

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – The first member of Cambodia’s notorious Khmer Rouge regime jailed for the 1970s “Killing Fields” atrocities admitted on Thursday brutally murdering four unidentified Westerners and burning their bodies with piles of tyres.

Kaing Guek Eav, alias “Duch”, is testifying at an international tribunal’s long-running second case against the deputies of late Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, whose four-year reign of terror in pursuit of a peasant utopia killed at least 1.8 million Cambodians.

Duch said “Brother Number Two” Nuon Chea had personally instructed him to execute four Westerners, including two Americans, at a school that was turned into a torture center, where more than 14,000 people were killed.

He said the foreigners were killed because they had trespassed into Cambodian waters. The identity of the foreigners remains unknown.

“They were interrogated and smashed per instruction,” Duch told the court.

“They had to be burnt to ashes so there is no evidence that foreigners were smashed by us.”

Most of the Khmer Rouge victims died of starvation, torture, exhaustion or disease in labor camps, or were bludgeoned to death during mass executions carried out across the country.

The majority of Cambodians alive now were born after the bloody era and are enjoying a peace and growth and embracing the capitalism the Khmer Rouge had deplored.

Nuon Chea and former head of state Khieu Samphan are on trial at the U.N.-backed court for war crimes and genocide. Now in their 80s and in declining health, they were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2014 for crimes against humanity.

Their complex case was divided into two to ensure justice was delivered while they were still alive. Two of their co-defendants, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith, are dead.

Pol Pot died in 1998.

Though other aging cadres have been indicted, there is little optimism a decade-old tribunal fraught with delays, political interference and funding problems can bring justice and closure to Cambodia.

Duch, 73, was jailed for life in 2010 for crimes against humanity. Earlier this week, he reiterated he was only acting on instructions from the Khmer Rouge’s upper echelons and from Nuon Chea to execute prisoners.

“No form of punishment on earth would be fair for what they did to the four foreigners and millions of Cambodians and their family members,” said Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia.

The Documentation Center, which has conducted research into the killings by the Khmer Rouge, lists 79 foreigners among those killed at the Tuol Sleng torture center, most of them Vietnamese and Thai but including four Americans, three French, two Australians, one Briton and one New Zealander.

Some of them were known to have strayed into Cambodian waters while sailing through the Gulf of Thailand.

(Editing by Martin Petty and Robert Birsel)

Cambodians gather to pray for ‘killing fields’ dead

A man prays at the Choeung Ek memorial during the annual "Day of Anger" in Phnom Penh

(Reuters) – Hundreds of people gathered on Friday at one of Cambodia’s infamous killing fields to remember the two million people who died under the communist Khmer Rouge regime.

Officials and relatives laid flowers and gave offerings on the “Day of Remembrance”, once known as the “Day of Hatred”, and students performed a re-enactment of Khmer Rouge soldiers taking prisoners.

The 1975-79 ultra-Maoist regime killed a fifth of the population through execution, torture and starvation in a bid to turn Cambodia into a communist state. Dictator Pol Pot was toppled from power when Vietnam invaded the country in 1979.

“During my prayers, I said to those who were killed that nowadays the government cooperates with the Khmer Rouge court to try to find justice for all the victims so they might rest in peace,” Khmer Rouge era survivor Yi Kim Seur said at Choueung Ek, about 15 km (9 miles) outside the capital, Phnom Penh.

A hybrid U.N.-Cambodian tribunal has reached verdicts in three high-profile cases since it was set up almost a decade ago but new cases have faced resistance.

Kaing Guek Eav, alias “Duch”, the head of the notorious Tuol Sleng prison where as many as 14,000 people were executed, received a life sentence in 2010.

Senior Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan have also been handed life sentences.

(Editing by Patrick Johnston and Clarence Fernandez)

WHO Finds Cause of Mystery Cambodian Illness

The World Health Organization has found the cause of a mysterious illness that has killed over 60 children who died within 48 hours of being hospitalized. WHO says the condition is caused by a combination of pathogens.

Enterovirus 71, streptococcus suis and dengue fever were part of the cocktail of diseases. The problem was compounded by doctors using steroids to treat the illness which suppressed the immune system. Continue reading

Cambodian Mystery Disease Kills 61 Children

A mystery disease that has killed 61 of 62 children diagnosed with the illness has baffled Cambodian health officials.

The only thing health officials and World Health Organization staff has determined is that it’s very unlikely the disease is transmitted from person to person. All of the victims were under 10 years old. They first had a high fever and then neurological and respiratory problems progressed quickly after the fever. Continue reading