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Cambodian People Forgot the Red-handed Chinese

'Cambodia is welcoming the arrival of Xi Jinping.'
In the 1990s, high-level visits by Chinese officials often faced protests along the street labelled them “bloody handed” Khmer Rouge backer. 

In the 2000s, the Chinese fiercely were criticised for investments caused human rights violations like forced evictions, and national resource exploitation, and Chinese aid has slowed down democratic development in the country. 

In 2012, Cambodia was labelled China’s “client state” for its protection of Chinese interests in the region when it blocked the ASEAN communique which included a reference to the South China Sea disputes.

As China power continues to rise and its influence has intensified not only in Cambodia but also the other Southeast Asian countries and beyond, and at the same time, US power has been reduced in the region, Cambodian public opinion and perception seem increasingly viewing China in a more positive way. 

To some foreign policy analysts, China could be Cambodia’s trump card in balancing the influence of the neighbouring countries as well as of the West.

Today, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Cambodia for a two-day visit, praising the close ties that have seen Cambodia side with Beijing on the South China Sea, and signed dozens of economic agreements.

For decades of Sino-Khmer relations consolidation, now, no protests have been staged against the Chinese visits, on the one hand, due to the fact that the government restrictions and objections have always been there, and on the other hand, people negative views on China’s championships in backing the Khmer Rouge and ignoring human rights concerns have been faded up over wind and time. 

To some extent, China behaviour too seems to change to accommodating the public concerns over its development aid and engaging in many exchange programs academically and socially to influence public perceptions.

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