Beware Cambodia’s Europe Sanctions Hype

Claims of threats to the country’s sovereignty are vastly exaggerated and miss the broader point about how foreign economic relations work.

For the last 18 months, the Cambodian government has seen foreign conspiracies everywhere it looks. The largest opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was plotting a coup with American backing, the government says, and was summarily dissolved by the Supreme Court in November 2017 as a result. The CNRP’s president, Kem Sokha, was also arrested for “treason,” though the government gave scant evidence of this.

The list goes on. Two reporters for Radio Free Asia were charged with espionage in late 2017. An Australian filmmaker was convicted as a “spy” for filming a CNRP rally. There are numerous other instances of the government’s myopic mirages of Cambodians, from senior opposition politicians to jaded social media users, who are plotting its downfall.

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