The Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh on September 22 held a farewell ceremony for the hundreds of Cambodian scholarship students heading to China for study, with the programme resuming after a pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The event was presided over by Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia HE Wang Wentian and secretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports HE Pit Chamnan, with scholarship students and embassy officials in attendance.

Some 350 Cambodian scholarship students and civil servants from across the Kingdom were to have travelled to China for study at the end of this month.

Ambassador Wang said relations between China and Cambodia were very close, special and historically embedded, with the Chinese people considering the Kingdom an iron-clad friend.

“While Covid-19 has not yet disappeared, China is to allow Cambodian students to study there as soon as possible to reduce the economic burden on them.

“The Chinese and Cambodian governments have paid great attention to the return of students from the Kingdom to study in China. The Chinese embassy has actively coordinated with the airline for students to receive special rates for their tickets.

“Over the years, many Cambodian students who have graduated from China have been actively involved in nation-building.

“I expect the students will study hard as beneficiaries of the friendship between China and Cambodia to become drivers of national development,” Ambassador Wang said.

Nineteen-year-old scholarship student Horn Bunroth from Kampot province was to embark on six years of studying medicine in Beijing.

“I am delighted to have received a scholarship to study in China, which will provide me with an international-standard education.

“With this opportunity, I am determined to study hard while there to bring back knowledge to help build a more prosperous nation.

“I would like to thank the Cambodian and Chinese governments, especially the Ministry of Education, for their assistance in issuing visas as well as facilitating the preparation of the relevant documents,” said Bunroth.

Chan Sivly, also 19 years old and from Phnom Penh, said she earned her scholarship through an exam organised by the Ministry of Education.

She was now to study for a bachelor’s degree in finance in Beijing for four years.

“Through this scholarship, Cambodian students will have more courage to go abroad to experience the outside world, particularly to gain greater knowledge, with it importantly also helping less well-off Cambodians to be able to study abroad.

“I would like to thank the Chinese and Cambodian governments, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, and the Cambodian Student Association in China for their assistance, such as with the preparation of documents.

“With this to be my first time travelling abroad, I was a little worried, but those who had studied there before shared their experiences. They told me what to expect when arriving in China, so that has given me confidence before I have even boarded the plane,” said Sivly.

She added that after graduating, she would use her knowledge and experiences to benefit Cambodia and its people.

“I expect that when I graduate, I will return to help train the next generation of Cambodian people, helping to develop human resources, as well bring about increased growth for our country,” she said.

Ministry of Education secretary of state Chamnan said that since China and Cambodia formally established diplomatic relations in 1958, bilateral ties have steadily developed into a comprehensive strategic partnership and an ironclad kinship which was inseparable.

“I wish to thank China for providing many scholarships to Cambodians, and request the students to respect the law and study hard while there as strong links in the Cambodia-China friendship and to contribute to further fortifying the friendship.

“From 1998 to 2021, 1,913 Cambodian scholarship students and civil servants – 492 of whom were female – received scholarships to pursue both long-term and short-term studies in China.

“The development of human resources is necessary and urgent, with the Kingdom seeking more support from our Chinese friends in the development of human capital, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Chamnan said.

The Chinese Embassy garnered significant praise from those it has helped, with more than 400 Cambodian students having returned to China for study since the beginning of August.