Anti-Sam Rainsy Signs Adorn Chinese Embassy

Observers said Sunday that they have been baffled by two ban­­­ners hanging from the western wall of the Chinese Embassy, one of which questions the na­tionality of opposition leader Sam Rainsy, and the second of which equates him with social instability.

Jimmy Gao, president of the Chi­nese Chamber of Commerce, said he did not believe the em­bassy was responsible for the banners, one of which reads “Sam Rain­sy = Cam­bodian political and social instability,” and the other “Sam Rainsy is not a Cam­bodian citizen.”

“The diplomatic principle for the Chinese government is very clear. We do not interfere in the internal affairs of foreign countries,” he said. “I don’t think it’s any­thing involved with the Chi­nese Embassy.”

Repeated phone calls to the em­bassy went unanswered, while For­eign Affairs Ministry Secre­tary of State Huy Kanthoul Vora declined to comment because he had not seen them.

Sam Rainsy Party Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang said he spotted the banners at the em­bassy several months ago when they began appearing at academic institutions around the city.

He said the embassy may not have put the banners up, adding that it could be a ploy to destroy China’s reputation and weaken their influence in the capital.

But he added that if the banners were put there by embassy officials, they would be meddling in Cambodia’s internal politics.

Opposition party member Mu Sochua said that even if others had posted the banners, the embassy would be giving at least tacit ap­proval if it had seen them and not taken them down.

“The question is: Is the em­bassy supporting the statement?” she said. “Does the embassy un­der­stand what the banner says? I am sure they have officials who speak Khmer.”

Chea Vannath of the Center for Social Development said she had also noticed similar signs on a mosque near the embassy.

“If you go a little bit further around that neighborhood there’s a Muslim mosque. There are also anti-Sam Rainsy banners there at the mosque,” Chea Van­nath said. “So it’s beyond country and beyond religion.”

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