In the year and a half of turmoil that has followed the Arab Spring of early 2011, policymakers and analysts have turned to the geopolitical map to assess whether or not the domino-effect revolutionary patterns in the Middle East will catch on in other corners of the developing world. Southeast Asia, a region with political instability and economic underdevelopment on par with that of pre-revolutionary Syria, has proven prone to this scrutiny. However, there is little support for the notion of a “Cambodian Spring,” observers say. The Cambodian government has long boasted the very characteristics that spurred upheaval after upheaval across the Middle East last year: corrupt processes of lawmaking with roots in patronage, a leader whose power seems to approach permanence in spite of “fair” and “regular” election, and a habit of persecution against those who speak out against it. “Cambodians are becoming comfortable for the first time in quite a long time,” journalist and blogger Faine Greenwood told VOA Khmer. “They’re making more money, and they don’t want to mess things up… relatively speaking, things are OK.” (Men Kimseng, Washington)
Patrick Devillers, the French architect who left for Beijing last week following his arrest in Cambodia last month, is in good health and is being watched over by his embassy there, a French official said Tuesday. Devillers is wanted as a witness in the high-profile murder trial of Gu Kailai, the wife of ousted communist politician Bo Xilai. He was arrested in Phnom Penh in June and held for a month before he left for China. Cambodian officials said he had made the decision voluntarily but never made clear why he was held. VOA Khmer's Heng Reaksmey, Phnom Penh.