CPP Hits Back Against Australian Politician Behind Protests

Hong Lim, a Cambodian-Australian member of parliament in Victoria, has once again drawn the ire of the CPP for protests he helped organize against Hun Manet during a visit to Melbourne on Friday.

In August, the government barred Mr. Lim from returning to Cambodia after he called the ruling party a “beast” in a radio interview.

In a statement released on Saturday, the ruling party said that Mr. Lim, a Cambodian refugee, had no right to comment on the political situation in his birth country.

“This demonstration is a political demonstration because it was led by politician Hong Lim, who has given up his own nationality,” the statement said of protests that met Lieutenant General Manet, the eldest son of Prime Minister Hun Sen and head of the CPP’s foreign outreach arm.

“So this person Hong Lim does not have the right to comment on Cambodia’s sovereign affairs and does not represent the voice of Khmer people who participated in the demonstration,” it said.

The statement said a political party and its “dishonest leader” were behind the protest, as part of attempts to “confuse opinions in the country and internationally that Cambodia is having a political crisis.”

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said on Sunday that Hong Lim had effectively given up his Cambodian citizenship by insulting the ruling party.

“He has insulted his own nation saying that it was a ‘beast.’ It means he has given up his Khmer nationality,” he said, declining to say whether he had technically lost citizenship or just been banned from entering the country.

Mr. Eysan said the CPP did not intend to suggest that the CNRP, which has said the country has returned to one-party rule amid the current political turmoil, was involved with the demonstration.

“I don’t think the CNRP was behind it,” he said, noting that the statement did not name any particular party.

“We have to understand that only the opposition supports Hong Lim because he has opposition tendencies,” he added.

After announcing that it would end its boycott of the National Assembly by attending a full session of parliament last Friday, CNRP lawmakers made a last-minute decision not to turn up due to what they said was a threat of violence related to the protests led by Mr. Lim.

Mr. Lim dismissed the notion that he or other members of the Cambodian Australian Federation, which organized the protest, were linked to the CNRP. He said the opposition party’s activists in Australia had largely remained silent amid the worsening situation in Cambodia.

“So it is ironic that we have to explain to you that our demonstration has nothing to do with the CNRP’s decision to return to Parliament or not with its subsequent consequences,” he said in an email on Thursday.

“And we know the CPP will do whatever they want to do with the CNRP as they see fit, as it has always been the case,” he added.

“And as far as we…in Australia are concerned, if the CNRP choose to continue to play the victim to the brutal and obnoxious CPP…then it is their miserable Karma and curse and nothing can save them, not even a win in 2018—because Hun Sen will  ‘lock up the gate and beat up the dogs again’ as in 2013 and before.”

(Additional reporting by Zsombor Peter)

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