Cambodia has descended into dictatorship in much the same manner that Ernest Hemingway described going bankrupt: gradually, and then suddenly. Now, a new rule establishing a national gateway for Internet traffic strikes at one of the nation’s last vestiges of democratic life.
Prime Minister Hun Sen has spent the past several years turning his quasi-authoritarian state with a weak opposition into a completely authoritarian state with no opposition at all. After elections in 2013 ushered too many critics of the regime into government, the regime dissolved their party and prosecuted its leaders on trumped-up charges. The two individuals who could challenge Mr. Hun Sen have been disposed of: Sam Rainsy lives in exile, and Kem Sokha is under indefinite house arrest. Independent domestic media has been shuttered, foreign media has been ordered out, and the remaining television and radio broadcasts are under state control.