Field Notes — Tonle Sap Lake

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Field Notes — Tonle Sap Lake

Stimson Southeast Asia program director Brian Eyler recently visited Plov Tuok, a community of 800 floating homes atop of Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake — the largest lake in Southeast Asia and the world’s largest inland fishery. The visit was facilitated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and Brian witnessed first-hand the progress of fish conversation zones that were established by local villagers and IUCN in 2014.

Click to read his Field Notes.

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The ‘Chinazation’ of Cambodia

March 16, 2017 10:00 am JST

China’s deepening economic presence is bringing progress — but at what cost?

KENJI KAWASE, Nikkei deputy editor

A new Chinese-built bridge, on the right, spans the Tonle Sap River in Phnom Penh, running parallel to the bridge Japan helped construct in the 1960s. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

HONG KONG/PHNOM PENH Just a few blocks from the Royal Palace, in the traditional heart of downtown Phnom Penh, sits one of Cambodia’s most renowned Chinese schools. Over the past century, the Tuan Hoa School has witnessed the many ups and downs of the capital. Today, it has front-row seats to an unprecedented boom.

Run by a local ethnic Chinese organization, the school is one of the largest Mandarin-speaking elementary and junior high schools outside China and Taiwan. It currently has more than 11,000 students, including those at its branch campus. Continue reading “The ‘Chinazation’ of Cambodia”

Cambodia top court dissolves main opposition CNRP party

16 November 2017 BBC
Image caption Prime Minister Hun Sen – who has ruled for 32 years – now has no rivals

Cambodia’s Supreme Court has dissolved the country’s main opposition party, leaving the government with no significant competitor ahead of elections next year.

The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) is accused of plotting to topple the government – charges it denies, and describes as politically motivated.

More than 100 party members are now banned from politics for five years.

Cambodia’s Prime Minister, Hun Sen, has ruled for 32 years.

The one-time commander in Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge has long been accused of using the courts and security forces to intimidate opponents and crush dissent, but has for years allowed some measure of political opposition to his Cambodian People’s Party. Continue reading “Cambodia top court dissolves main opposition CNRP party”

Kampot literary festival hopes to revive Cambodia’s lost art of storytelling

Guardian

Atmospheric Kampot is hosting the likes of Jung Chang and Madeleine Thien as it seeks to rebuild Cambodia’s literary scene and defend its freedom of speech

Boat on the Kampot river at sunset, Cambodia.
Words by the water … a boat on the Kampot river at sunset, Cambodia. The town’s literary festival begins on 1 November. Photograph: Alamy

Cambodia has long wooed visitors with its ancient temples and Phnom Penh’s chaotic charms, but next week the southern coastal town of Kampot will be in the spotlight as it hosts the Kampot Readers and Writers Festival (running from 1-5 November). Continue reading “Kampot literary festival hopes to revive Cambodia’s lost art of storytelling”

Vietnamese migrants could be on borrowed time in Cambodia

channelnewsasia – The Cambodian government is threatening to deport any “newcomers” unable to produce correct and legal documentation.


Many Vietnamese communities exist around the Tonle Sap. (Photo: Pichayada Promchertchoo)  

 (Updated: )

PHNOM PENH: The Cambodian government has illegal Vietnamese migrants in its sights, threatening to deport any “newcomers” unable to produce correct and legal documentation.

The Ministry of Interior earlier this month reiterated plans to revoke documentation from about 70,000 individuals on the basis that they were incorrectly issued. Continue reading “Vietnamese migrants could be on borrowed time in Cambodia”

The magic of Khmer classical dance

 

Cambodian opposition MPs flee from crackdown

Al Jazeera
About half the country’s opposition members of parliament have left as government vows more arrests over alleged coup.

Opposition leader Kem Sokha was arrested on September 3 over coup allegations [Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images]

Half of Cambodia‘s opposition members of parliament have fled the country in fear of a crackdown by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government after allegations of a US-backed coup attempt. Continue reading “Cambodian opposition MPs flee from crackdown”

Vietnam Rubber Group stripped of Forest Stewardship Council certification for forest destruction, illegal land grabs and human rights abuses

globalwitness – Press release / Oct. 26, 2015 

Rubber giant Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) has been expelled from the world’s leading forest certification body, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), following an investigation into illegal land and forest clearance in Cambodia. Responding to a complaint submitted by Global Witness last November, the FSC found that the state-owned company had illegally destroyed at least 50,000 hectares of forest for its rubber plantations in Cambodia alone, including wildlife sanctuaries and protected areas.

“The FSC investigation provides further evidence that VRG has destroyed some of South East Asia’s most important remaining forests, with indigenous communities forcibly displaced in the process, and is forcibly taking land from its rightful owners and destroying livelihoods – with untold and irreversible effects,” said Patrick Alley, a Founding Director of Global Witness. “The FSC has done the right thing by dropping them from its certification scheme. Now VRG needs to urgently take action to address the damage it has caused.” Continue reading “Vietnam Rubber Group stripped of Forest Stewardship Council certification for forest destruction, illegal land grabs and human rights abuses”

The race to rescue Cambodian children from orphanages exploiting them for profit

Despite good intentions, Australians and others from western countries are often propping up Asian orphanages that separate children from families. Now there’s new efforts to tackle some of the consequences of ‘voluntourism’

A family in Battambang, Cambodia, supported by the Cambodian Children’s Trust which works to keep families together and stop children going to orphanages.
A family in Battambang, Cambodia, supported by the Cambodian Children’s Trust which works to keep families together and stop children going to orphanages. Photograph: Tara Winkler

Much was hidden from the tourists visiting Sinet Chan in her rundown Cambodian orphanage.

When they returned to their hotels, cameras full and best intentions sated, they remained oblivious to the reality of what they had just supported.

Chan, the nine-year-old who sang and danced for them, was being starved. She and the other children hunted and ate mice to survive. Continue reading “The race to rescue Cambodian children from orphanages exploiting them for profit”

Cambodia tells US to back off after charging opposition leader

channelnewsasia

The prosecution of Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha is a message from Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government for the United States, one that says “stop interfering with Cambodia’s internal affairs”.

 
File photo of Cambodia’s Kem Sokha when he talked exclusively to Channel NewsAsia about living in self-exile, his protest plans and whether he would be PM. (Photo: Jack Board)

“We’re not a slave but, like them, an independent country. We want to stand on our own feet. We don’t need someone to tell us to do this or do that,” said Cambodian government spokesperson Phay Siphan. Continue reading “Cambodia tells US to back off after charging opposition leader”

Kem Sokha detained during Cambodia police raid

Al Jazeera

Government cites ‘secret conspiracy’ for nighttime arrest of main opposition leader Kem Sokha.

Cambodia National Rescue Party leader Kem Sokha casts his vote during June elections [Samrang Pring/Reuters]

Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha was arrested in Phnom Penh early on Sunday and the government of veteran Prime Minister Hun Sen said he was accused of treason.

The government said in a statement it had a video clip and other evidence that pointed to “secret plans of conspiracy between Kem Sokha, others and foreigners to harm the Kingdom of Cambodia”. Continue reading “Kem Sokha detained during Cambodia police raid”

Cambodia shutters radio stations, expels US NGO

Al Jazeera Aug. 23, 2017

Khmer-language stations, Maha Nokor and Voice of Democracy, ordered closed as more media face legal threats.

Analysts said critical media are being targeted ahead of the 2018 polls [File: Reuters]

The government of Cambodia has shut down two independent radio stations and ordered the foreign staff of an American NGO to leave the country in the latest move against critics ahead of a general election next year.

The orders on Wednesday came a day after long-time Prime Minister Hun Sen threatened the Cambodia Daily, one of the country’s few remaining critical newspapers, with closure over an alleged unpaid tax bill of more than $6m, calling them “thieves”. Continue reading “Cambodia shutters radio stations, expels US NGO”

Cambodia threatens purge of critical media and US charity

As general election looms, prime minister Hun Sen tells English-language newspaper Cambodia Daily to pay $6m tax bill or leave

Cambodian PM Hun Sen
Cambodian PM Hun Sen faces what many believe will be a close contest in next year’s general election. Photograph: Heng Sinith/AP

Cambodia has threatened to close three foreign media outlets and a US charity, accusing them of operating illegally or owing millions in back taxes, in what appears to be a coordinated purge of government critics.

The Cambodia Daily, one of three English-language daily newspapers in the country, was handed a $6.3m (£4.9m) tax bill and threatened with closure if it does not pay by 4 September. Continue reading “Cambodia threatens purge of critical media and US charity”

The race to rescue Cambodian children from orphanages exploiting them for profit

Despite good intentions, Australians and others from western countries are often propping up Asian orphanages that separate children from families. Now there’s new efforts to tackle some of the consequences of ‘voluntourism’

A family in Battambang, Cambodia, supported by the Cambodian Children’s Trust which works to keep families together and stop children going to orphanages.
A family in Battambang, Cambodia, supported by the Cambodian Children’s Trust which works to keep families together and stop children going to orphanages. Photograph: Tara Winkler
 

Much was hidden from the tourists visiting Sinet Chan in her rundown Cambodian orphanage.

When they returned to their hotels, cameras full and best intentions sated, they remained oblivious to the reality of what they had just supported. Continue reading “The race to rescue Cambodian children from orphanages exploiting them for profit”

Laos to withdraw troops after Cambodia threat

Al Jazeera

Prime Minister Hun Sen had accused Laos of sending 30 soldiers across the border and warned of a military response.

Cambodia's prime minister on Friday issued a six-day ultimatum to Laos to pull back troops [Reuters]
Cambodia’s prime minister on Friday issued a six-day ultimatum to Laos to pull back troops [Reuters]

Cambodia and Laos reached an agreement for Lao soldiers to pull back from their shared border, easing the threat of a military confrontation. Continue reading “Laos to withdraw troops after Cambodia threat”