PHNOM PENH —
The Cambodian government has released a 132-page book detailing its efforts to root out foreign-backed “color revolution” and defending its crackdown on the country’s opposition.
The book argues the case for the dissolution of the CNRP and rehashes and expands on many of the claims made by senior Cambodian People’s Party officials over the past two years.
Government-aligned media outlet Fresh News published the book in full on its website on Wednesday, saying 70,000 copies would be printed.
The book paints a picture of Cambodia on the brink of war due to the actions of the CNRP and civil society organizations, which are said to be funded by “superpowers”.
The book also criticizes media outlets Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, Voice of Democracy and Beehive Radio for exaggerating events “in order to poison the social environment”, and accuses civil society organizations like Licadho, Adhoc, the National Democracy Institute, Transparency International, Comfrel and Nicfec of being allies of the opposition.
Phay Siphan, a government spokesman, and Tith Sothea, a media spokesman, could not be reached for comment.
The release of the book follows the publication by the government of numerous propaganda pamphlets and videos intended to support the government line, which has drawn ridicule from Cambodians on social media.
Mu Sochua, CNRP vice president, said Cambodians would not be fooled by the book. “Now, the book is written by the government, but in the spirit of our nation, history will condemn those who have killed democracy.”
Am Sam Ath, a legal adviser to local rights groups Licadho, said the government was seeking to defend its actions. “I believe that other organizations, too, do not serve the interests of any political party. What we do is serve the public interest,” he said.
Astrid Norén-Nilsson, senior lecturer at the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies at Lund University, said the main purpose of the book was to make the CPP’s positions on “color revolution” official.
“It is not so much about convincing Cambodians of the threat of color revolution, as it is about setting in stone that the CNRP are viewed as enemies of the nation and that it would be utterly foolish to participate in an attempt to bring the party back to life.”