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China’s dangerous military expansionism depends on compliant local regimes and inaction on the part of the international community. In the case of Cambodia, which has reportedly given China rights to a naval base, the international community should demand a new general election that does not exclude real challengers.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Cambodia has become a haven for companies eager to circumvent rules that threaten their bottom line. This does not bode well for America’s ability to enforce its trade tariffs against China – or for Cambodia’s future.
In recent years, autocratic regimes have increasingly relied on legal and bureaucratic tools – from restrictions on foreign funding to draconian sedition laws – to impede civic activism. Now, they are adding cyber legislation to their arsenals of repression.
Despite boasting unrivaled tourist attractions, large stores of natural resources that could be profitably and responsibly exploited, and one of the world’s youngest labor forces the country's economy is floundering. And, after 34 years of Prime Minister Hun Sen's dictatorial rule, Cambodians could soon be facing a higher price.