CPP Reverses Order to Monitor CNRP Speeches

CPP Secretary-General Say Chhum has reversed an order he made last week instructing ruling party officials to monitor the opposition’s use of insults such as “Vietnamese puppet” or “dictatorial communist” to describe CPP leaders.

Mr. Chhum’s original order, issued Tuesday, was followed Friday by a new “code of conduct” signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy that states that the insults—as well as any language threatening arrests or renewed outbreaks of war—must be avoided.

In a letter to CPP officials issued the same day and obtained Sunday, Mr. Chhum said the code of conduct had trumped his initial instructions for monitoring of the CNRP, which had directed officials to file reports with the party’s leadership when opposition officials used such insults.

“1. Work to​​​ deeply disseminate and educate, and to guide all CPP officials, members, and supporters to properly implement all messages expressed within this statement,” Mr. Chhum writes in the letter, referring to Friday’s statement.

“2. If there is a violation​ or obstruction, through a speech, of this joint statement, the partners of the culture of dialogue on all levels must work out a resolution.

“3. Consider as annulled the statement…issued on the May 5 by the central committee’s standing committee.”

Mr. Chhum could not be reached for comment on Sunday. However, CPP spokesman Sok Ey San said that Mr. Chhum annulled his order because the code of conduct had convinced CPP leaders that opposition officials—including CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha—were committed to toning down attacks on the CPP.

“After the release of the joint statement of the two parties, he has instructed the locals that, when there is an issue about the implementation of the culture of dialogue, the local and relevant people should solve the problem to the best of their capabilities,” Mr. Ey San said.

“When the first letter was issued, there was a situation that Kem Sokha had been continuing to commit some irregularities, but we have seen a joint statement in the days that followed…and today the situation has changed,” he said.

Asked for more detail on what had changed about the situation in the three days between Mr. Chhum’s two orders, Mr. Ey San said that he did not know clearly.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said that the opposition party had not asked the CPP to reverse Mr. Chhum’s order, but that it was happy with the reversal and hopeful it would help expand the “culture of dialogue” that Mr. Hun Sen and Mr. Rainsy have been promoting since last year.

“We did contact them. I think that the top leaders, Sam Rainsy and Hun Sen, talked to each other and came up with this joint statement, and it’s good that they are asking officials to follow that statement,” Mr. Sovann said.

“This is an internal matter for the CPP, and I cannot comment on what the CPP does,” he added. “Anything that promotes the culture of dialogue, we support, because we want the culture of dialogue to take root in our society.”

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