Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Analyst in CPP’s crosshairs

Analyst in CPP’s crosshairs

Sophal Ear speaks in Phnom Penh in 2014. The long-time government critic has recently come under attack from Prime Minister Hun Sen and pro-government media.
Sophal Ear speaks in Phnom Penh in 2014. The long-time government critic has recently come under attack from Prime Minister Hun Sen and pro-government media. Pha Lina

Analyst in CPP’s crosshairs

Prime Minister Hun Sen and the CPP-aligned news media have launched a public and somewhat off-the-wall attack on academic and commentator Sophal Ear, a longtime government critic, goading him to leave America due to his criticisms of US president-elect Donald Trump before last month’s election.

Ear described Trump as “autocratic” and a fellow traveller of world leaders like Hun Sen in the days before Trump’s victory, and yesterday, the prime minister used a speech at the opening of a $100 million Coca-Cola factory in Phnom Penh to hit back.

“He wanted to hit Hun Sen’s head, but he missed and he just hit Donald Trump’s head instead,” the prime minister said of Ear, who was a Cambodian refugee and has long taught world affairs and diplomacy at the university level in the US. The prime minister said that Ear should be ashamed and find a new home.

“I am not a professor of diplomacy like Ear Sophal, but I have conducted diplomatic affairs for 35 years – since I was 26 years old – so I have enough reason to claim that Donald Trump would win . . . If I were Ear Sophal, I would leave the US immediately.”

A Fresh News article yesterday, titled Will Sam Rainsy and Sophal Ear Agree to Keep Living With a Regime Led by an Ignorant and Dictatorial Person, also suggested that Ear leave the US – and that opposition leader Sam Rainsy stop seeking US support.

“People say that, in the name of the brave politician and in the name of the professor who presents himself as the know-all, they should not associate with, or live under, a regime that has that ignorant and dictatorial leader,” the Fresh News article said.

“It’d be better if Sam Rainsy and Sophal Ear announced they are cutting connections with the government of Trump, and then leave from America [but] . . . people are afraid that these two will only talk, and will not have the courage to do.”

It’s not the first attack on Ear and Rainsy over Trump. On November 26, the widely circulated Nokorwat News Daily placed portraits of the pair side-by-side on the main slot of the newspaper’s front page next to an article about similar comments by Hun Sen.

The article was titled Hun Sen: I Am Waiting to See, What Will These Two People Do? This Was Truly an Attack on Hun Sen’s Head That Struck the US President on the Head, and featured Hun Sen accusing the pair of “incendiary and childish politics.”

Reached yesterday, Ear suggested the premier and CPP-friendly news media, failed to recognise some basic differences between the US and Cambodia.

“In America, we can say what we want about Trump or any other public figure. I wish it were true in other countries,” Ear wrote in an email. “As US citizens, we don’t become refugees for doing so; indeed, we’re part of a long and celebrated tradition.”

“As to why this is happening, I can only surmise that like so much else in Cambodia, I’m just collateral damage for the campaign against Sam Rainsy, with whom I have no association whatsoever,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM imposes nationwide Covid restrictions, curfew over Delta scare

    Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28 instructed the municipal and provincial authorities nationwide to strictly enforce Covid-19 measures including curfew for two weeks from July 29 midnight through August 12 to stem the new coronavirus Delta variant. The instruction came shortly after he issued a directive

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Provinces on Thai borders put in lockdown amid Delta fears

    The government has decided to place several border provinces in lockdown for two weeks in a bid to prevent the new coronavirus Delta variant spreading further into community. According a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28, the provinces include Koh Kong,

  • Delta spreading in Kingdom

    Cambodia has so far detected more than 200 cases of the highly contagious coronavirus Delta variant, with 109 found on July 31 and August 1. The Ministry of Health has expressed deep concerns that the variant may have already reached communities and be spreading as some of the cases

  • US' Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines arrive

    The first batch of 455,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine donated by the US touched down in Phnom Penh on the morning of July 30. They are part of the total 1,060,100 doses the US has pledged to provide to Cambodia through the World Health Organisation-led (

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four