Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Anti-graft team here from China

Anti-graft team here from China

Anti-graft team here from China

A Chinese anti-graft delegation is visiting Cambodia to help the country’s Anti-Corruption Unit crack down on misconduct, Chinese state media outlet Xinhua has reported.

ACU director Om Yentieng was quoted by Xinhua as saying the Kingdom needed to learn from China about preventing corruption more effectively.

Yentieng declined to comment further when contacted by the Post, but confirmed ACU vice president Kheang Seng held a briefing about the visit.

The six-member delegation, from China’s eastern Jiangsu province, arrived on Tuesday and will stay in Cambodia for five days, according to Xinhua.

In view of China’s reputation for corruption within its ruling Communist party, some consider the idea of China as a model for Cambodia unreasonable.

“Given the high levels of corruption in China, and that [premier Xi Jinping’s] anti-corruption campaign is motivated in part by the need to consolidate his position, I don’t think it would be seen as a credible initiative in [Southeast Asia],” said Ian Storey, a senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

China has supported Cambodia’s Anti-Corruption Unit since its establishment in 2010, receiving 25 ACU officials at the China Academy of Discipline Inspection and Supervision in Beijing for anti-corruption training, Xinhua reported.

But the cooperation may have other purposes as well, said Heng Pheakdey, founder of the Enrich Institute for Sustainable Development.

“China has been accused of operating with a lack of environmental and financial accountability [in Cambodia].This sends a gesture that China is trying to slowly take steps to repair its image.”

Despite its faults, a declaration of war against corruption similar to China’s could be well-received by Cambodian people, said Transparency International Cambodia director Preap Kol.

“China’s support to the ACU will be beneficial at technical and operational levels,” he said. “However, the extent of benefit or impact at the highest political level might be minimal.”

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