Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Following US, EU withdrawal of funding, China to donate huge load of goods to NEC

Following US, EU withdrawal of funding, China to donate huge load of goods to NEC

Vehicles, equipment and supplies donated by China to the NEC at a handover ceremony in Phnom Penh last December. Fresh News
Vehicles, equipment and supplies donated by China to the NEC at a handover ceremony in Phnom Penh last December. Fresh News

Following US, EU withdrawal of funding, China to donate huge load of goods to NEC

China will donate more than 30 different kinds of equipment – including 60,000 polling booths and 15,000 ballot boxes – to the National Election Committee (NEC) ahead of next year’s general elections.

The pledge is the first of its kind since the European Union and United States withdrew their support of the election body after the Supreme Court dissolved the Cambodia National Rescue Party – the nation’s only viable opposition – in November.

China will provide 134 computers, 30 security cameras and a number of radios, printers and pieces of office furniture, according to the NEC.

NEC official Dim Sovannarom said the equipment is “very important to ensure the election can be held regularly, independently and transparently”. He added that he does not yet know the monetary value of the equipment.

China donated nearly $12 million worth of equipment to the NEC last year. The EU also pledged roughly $12 million to the NEC but withdrew its support earlier this month with roughly $1.5 million unspent, according to EU Ambassador George Edgar.

Sovannarom said the NEC made an appeal to other countries for assistance in early October and received confirmation from China on Sunday.

“Even though the EU suspended its assistance, we still receive assistance from the international community, especially China,” Sovannarom said.

China has been perhaps the only member of the international community to express its support of the government’s crackdown on the opposition, and in recent years Cambodia has embraced Chinese aid as it pivots away from the West.

Astrid Noren-Nilsson, an expert on Cambodian politics at Lund University, said China’s aid has historically been directed toward infrastructure projects, while the US and Europe have focused on democracy building.

The fact that China is stepping into electoral aid suggests Cambodia is rapidly turning closer to the Chinese political model, she said.

“In filling in where the US and EU pulled out, Beijing is making good of its promise to stick with the Cambodian government through thick and thin,” Noren-Nilsson said.

The Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh could not be reached for comment yesterday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia’s image problem

    In opening remarks at a recent event, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luy David said information can be a double-edged sword. He told a European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS) briefing seminar that the media has unfairly presented

  • PM Hun Sen says dangers averted

    Delivering a campaign speech from his home via Facebook Live on Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen said his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had carried the country through danger in its latest mandate. He was specifically referring to the threat of a “colour revolution”

  • Kingdom's trade deal with EU questioned before poll

    A European Union (EU) mission met with senior government officials at the Ministry of Interior on Tuesday as the 28-member bloc monitors an agreement under which Cambodian goods reach the crucial European market tariff-free. Some 10 commissioners are in the Kingdom as part of a seven-day

  • A new carrier takes off in capital

    Cambodia Airways, the latest passenger airline to enter the Kingdom, launched its first domestic flight on Tuesday. Flight KR801, carrying 145 passengers, left the Phnom Penh International Airport at 9:50am and landed in Siem Reap at 10:35am in an Airbus A319. Cambodia Airways marketing and branding