MoeUn Nhean, Special Reports Editor of The Phnom Penh Post, talks to journalist Khiev Kola about China.
1. What do you and other Cambodians think about China in general?
Kola: China has an older culture and more history than other countries in Asia.
2. As a journalist, how do you see the Cambodia-China relationship from the beginning until today?
Kola: For me, I am grateful to China, which gave me and other Cambodians chances to study the Khmer empire through the very important documents of Chive Tafan, a Chinese ambassador who came to Cambodia during the Angkor period. His documents are very useful for Cambodia and its people because being a foreigner, he recorded many things about Cambodian’s livelihood, culture, tradition and the prosperity of the Khmer empire in the Angkor regime.
This is a key international document of the Khmer empire. China is a country that has had long relations with Cambodia and the late King Norodom Sihanouk, the Father-King, was a founder of modern-day Cambodian-Chinese relationships.
3. What do you think about the relationships between the people of the two countries?
Kola: I am reminded that in the 1950s, Ly Theam Teang, a Cambodian-Chinese man who was a former chief of the Khmer Writer’s Association, helped to develop Khmer literature, which was getting very popular at that time.
Economically, I would like to thank all the Cambodian-Chinese people who have helped raise the livelihoods of people in Cambodia – they have been part of our economic development. Moreover, we do not forget Chinese firms that have invested here.
They not only invest, but they also bring new technology to many sectors to develop Cambodian human resources as well.
4. You have been to China twice. Could you share some experiences with our readers?
Kola: During my visits through the Chinese Communist Party’s invitation to join the Chinese Communist Party’s General Assembly in Yunnan province in 2010, we were invited to travel to several places in Kunming city.
I noticed the city had well-prepared infrastructure, well-built skyscrapers, broad roads and it also has projects to protect the environment in the whole city. The deputy governor of Yunnan told me that his major concern was that development and environmental protects get equally priority.
His initial work was to make a good environment for the city, a key to making Kunming city very successful in drawing more national and foreign visitors every year. I also saw some foreigners visiting Kunming city.
As a reporter I am used to being invited on visits to other countries. I had noticed that Chinese food had many varieties and no country had as delicious food as China.
I once took part in an official food party and there were a lot of special dishes.
5. On your visits to China, what do you think was the most important thing you learned?
Kola: One thing that stays in my memory was from my first visit, when I travelled to the Confucius Institute in Yunnan province. In Yunnan as well as other places in China, the study, research, writing and compiling of things are valued by the people, especially Chinese leaders.
They take notice of authors and those who study Chinese literature, so Chinese society is rich in highly-educated people, especially those who are into literature. Kunming city in 2010 was home to seven to eight million residents and there are some 40 million people in the whole of Yunnan province.