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

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • Cambodia lauded for fight against Covid-19

    Cambodia has drawn global accolades for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new report finding that the Kingdom has controlled the pandemic better than any other country in Asia. Dr Takeshi Kasai, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region,

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there