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.


  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of