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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rainsy gets 'one-China' lecture

Rainsy gets 'one-China' lecture

THE Chinese government has reacted angrily to the refusal of opposition leader Sam

Rainsy to bow to Chinese pressure to cease official contacts with representatives

of Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

The stormy Chinese response is the result of Rainsy's presence at both the May 12-15

meeting of the Council of Asian Liberal Democrats (CALD)in Jakarta, which was attended

by representatives of Taiwan's now-ruling pro-independence Democratic Progressive

Party (DPP), as well as the May 20 inauguration of Taiwan's DPP President Chen Shui

Bian in Taipei.

The Chinese government has interpreted Rainsy's refusal to respect Chinese requests

that he shun the DPP as a violation of Cambodia's official acceptance of the PRC's

"one-China policy" which asserts that Taiwan is an indivisible part of


The policy has effectively isolated Taiwan from participation in international forums

of any kind for the past three decades.

"We informed representatives of the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) that we would like

[party members] not to have any formal relations with the DPP and not to send any

representatives to the so-called inauguration of Chen Shui Bian, but later found

out that Sam Rainsy himself went to Taiwan to the so-called inauguration," PRC

Embassy Counsellor Zhang Jin Feng told the Post in a June 7 interview.

"The Chinese Embassy surely has the right to express dissatisfaction ... since

Sam Rainsy said he adheres to the 'one-China policy' and so he should not have gone

to the so-called inauguration."

The SRP's tangle with the Chinese began on May 10 when the Chinese diplomatic official

invited SRP MP Tioulong Saumura and SRP Vice-President Kong Korm for a meeting at

the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh while Rainsy was in transit to the May 15 CALD

meeting in Jakarta.

"The Chinese requested that in my capacity as President of CALD that I expel

representatives of the DPP from CALD or at least prevent them from speaking during

the meeting," Rainsy told the Post. "I was also requested not to go to

the inauguration of Taiwan's President Chen Shui Bian."

Rainsy insisted that the Chinese have misinterpreted his motives for attending the

CALD meeting and Chen's inauguration and voiced strong support for the government's

official "one-China policy".

"I can't, even as CALD Chairman, expel the DPP from CALD; this is against the

democratic spirit of CALD," he said. "As for Chen's inauguration, it would

have been very difficult for me not to go since the DPP is a founding and active

member [of CALD] and I support the democratic stance of the DPP in how they manage

political life in Taiwan."

According to Rainsy, the "widespread" Chinese protests to CALD delegates

over DPP participation at the CALD meeting were based on a Chinese "misunderstanding"

of the nature of democratic states.

"We must make a distinction between relations between government and government

and political party and political party," he said.

"In communist countries the party and the state are indivisible, but in democratic

countries these institutions are separate so [the Chinese] should not be too sensitive

about party-to-party relations."

In a phone interview from Taipei, the Director of the DPP's International Affairs

Department, Shiao Bikhimh, confirmed the furious Chinese opposition to DPP participation

at the Jakarta CALD meeting.

"We were a little surprised by how hostile the Chinese response was to DPP participation

at the CALD meeting," Bikhimh said. "All [CALD] members were heavily pressured

to 'disinvite' the DPP and to not allow me to speak at the meeting, but all our fellow

delegates stood together and felt such pressure did not warrant expulsion of the

DPP and so the Chinese were unsuccessful."

"According to Bikhimh, China's opposition to DPP attendance at CALD was "unreasonable".

"The CALD meeting really had nothing to do with the "one-China policy"

or Taiwan independence," she said. "CALD is simply an organ devoted to

promote democracy and liberalism in Asia."

Not so, said Counsellor Zhang at the PRC Embassy in Phnom Penh.

"At the CALD meeting DPP officials proposed to adopt a resolution attacking

mainland China and advocating independence for Taiwan," she said of China's

justification for seeking to bar the DPP from the CALD meeting. "But this game

has come to a satisfying conclusion because Southeast Asian political parties [present

at the CALD meeting] did not respond to the DPP's plans."

While shaken by China's vehement reaction to his contact with the DPP, Rainsy indicated

that he would continue to have links with the Taiwanese and support for Taiwan's

democratic development within what he perceived as the boundaries of the "one-China


"I'm thinking of those 23 million people in Taiwan ... I never said those 23

million people should be independent [from China], but as a matter of fact they live

in a different system from the one in place in mainland China," he said.

"I support democracy for those 23 million Taiwanese just as I advocate democracy

for Thailand, the Philippines, Burma and Indonesia ... It doesn't mean that I support

DPP policies on independence."

Zhang warned that China would continue to monitor Rainsy for future perceived violations

of the one-China policy by continuing to have contacts with the DPP.

"Sam Rainsy is not just an individual, he's a representative of one of three

political parties and the National Assembly [and] as a member of parliament he should

adhere to the "one-China policy" advocated by King Sihanouk and as a political

leader he should keep his promises," she said.

"We hope that Sam Rainsy and the SRP will pay more attention [to the one-China

policy] and not, as the Chinese saying goes, 'lose what's big by chasing what's small'."



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