The Ministry of Information has banned the sale and circulation of a book of French origin that alleges involvement by Prime Minister Hun Sen and other high-ranking officials in the crimes of the Khmer Rouge regime.
Police and ministry officials began confiscating copies of the three-volume “Who Is Angkar?” from Phnom Penh bookshops and libraries last month, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said Thursday.
“I ordered them to collect these books from shops because the book accuses Chea Sim, CPP’s president, Prime Minister Hun Sen, CPP’s deputy president, and Heng Samrin, CPP’s honorary president, of being behind Tuol Sleng prison and participating in Tuol Sleng prison,” Khieu Kanharith said. “Why would we sell these? They have all already been collected.”
The copies circulating here are unofficial translations from a 1993 French book written by author Kim Thy Uoy. Each volume features cover illustrations of Hun Sen, Pol Pot, Chea Sim, Ho Chi Minh and former communist leaders Son Ngoc Minh and Tou Samouth. There is no publisher information on the book.
In addition to the accusations against the CPP officials, the book criticizes Vietnam for invading Cambodia and China for supporting the Khmer Rouge.
Srey Pov, a book, magazine and newspaper vendor near Wat Langka, said the book was a bestseller before it was banned. “I sold it well in the past. I ordered the printer to get more for me to sell but, he told me it is banned from shops,” she said Thursday. “I do not dare display it in my shop [anymore].”
Another Phnom Penh vendor, who asked for anonymity for fear of reprisal, said police and officials seized five copies of the book from his shop last month.
“They did not tell me the reason [why], but said it was just upper leader’s orders,” he said.
According to the law, the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Interior can confiscate any publications harmful to national security or political stability.
Documentation Center of Cambodia Director Youk Chhang was critical of the ban. “It is a waste of time to ban these books,” he said.