Center will tell Cambodian story

LONG BEACH - Although Long Beach is well known for having the largest Cambodian population in the U.S., there have been precious few resources to research how this has come to pass.

The Khmer Genocide Study and Resource Center, planned for Cal State Long Beach, will attempt to help fill that gap.

The first formal step in its creation starts tonight with a fundraising dinner at Sophy's Restaurant.

However, the idea has been a long time coming.

In the late 1970s, Long Beach became a hub for incoming refugees who escaped from the ravages of the genocide that engulfed Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge and left upwards of 2 million dead.

Since that time, a large Cambodian community has developed in Long Beach, with businesses, arts and social service agencies.

What hasn't evolved is a place where academics and the community can learn about the calamitous history and circumstances that led to Long Beach becoming the home of Cambodia Town.

Although the center will have a physical location on the Cal State campus, primarily it will be a virtual museum online with an array of information across multiple platforms.

"The intent is to develop an archive of the genocide experience," said John Fallon, one of those helping create the center.

"It will have three components," Fallon said. "An academic venue for information with oral histories; an electronic library; and third, an most important I suppose, an


initiation of the Cambodian community as stakeholders."

Dr. Donald Schwartz, a Fulbright Specialist and retired professor at Cal State Long Beach, will be helping to head up the academic side and is hoping to link up with other universities, including Stanford, Yale and Pannasastra University in Phnom Penh, along with the Document Center in Cambodia, which has provided much of the information for the Khmer Rouge War Tribunals.

Schwartz will also be teaching in the spring at Pannasastra and hopes to get funding for videographers to do a project on the infamous Tuol Sleng, or S-21, security prison.

Schwartz is an expert on the Holocaust during World War II. He said one theme from survivors of that genocide was that they didn't tell their children what they endured. He sees parallels with the children of Cambodian genocide survivors and hopes this project can help answer their questions.

Fallon, who has been at the forefront of the refugee movement since the '70s and has helped place 22,000 families, said his inspiration comes from the words of a survivor he met: "He said, `My children must understand what happened to me, so the world will not forget."'

Schwartz said the primary purpose of the dinner, in addition to raising funds, is to invite the Cambodian community to be part of the process and inform them what's envisioned.

Or as Fallon says, "It's their life and their history.", 562-499-1291

Want to go?

What: Khmer Genocide Study and Resource Center fundraising dinner

When: Tonight, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Sophy's Restaurant,

3240 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach

Cost: Adults $30, children $15

Information: Lamarin Pan 562-394-5290, Peter Chhun 818-640-6191, Sophy's Restaurant 562-494-1763

China asked to explain fate of Uighurs from Cambodia

BEIJING — Human Rights Watch has called on Beijing to explain the fate of 20 Uighurs deported from Cambodia a year ago who had sought asylum following deadly ethnic violence in China's far-western Xinjiang region.

The Uighurs, members of a mainly Muslim minority group who have complained of oppression in Xinjiang, were handed over to China despite their application for UN refugee status, after Beijing had pressed Cambodia for their return.

China said they were wanted in connection with rioting that erupted in July 2009 in the Xinjiang capital Urumqi between Uighurs and China's majority Han ethnic group that left nearly 200 people dead, according to official tolls.

"Uighurs deported to China are at clear risk of torture," Human Rights Watch's Asia advocacy director, Sophie Richardson, said in a statement released Friday in New York, where the group is based.

"China's failure to account for any of those asylum seekers a year after their forced return is extremely worrying."

Cambodia's decision to deport the Uighurs was quickly followed by a 1.2-billion-dollar aid and loan package from Beijing. China has rejected accusations of a link between the two.

The Uighurs had expressed fears of persecution and torture if they were sent home to China, which implemented a massive security crackdown in Xinjiang following the violence.

Phnom Penh said the group, which Beijing had labelled as "criminals", was expelled in line with domestic law.

But the US, the European Union, the United Nations and rights groups deplored the move as an apparent breach of an international convention on refugees.

"Both China and Cambodia should be held accountable for their flagrant disregard of their obligations under international law," Richardson said.

"This case is a stark reminder that no country should deport Uighur asylum seekers back to China."

Chinese: The Language of the Future?

download full-res image" style="text-decoration: none; color: rgb(220, 84, 45);">Chinese.jpg

The world of tomorrow is being shaped in our classrooms today. Are our students gaining the knowledge and skills they need? (pixdeluxe/iStockPhoto)

When I was a teenager growing up in international schools across Asia, my father urged me to take up Chinese as an elective. If I asked why taking up Chinese would help me, he always answered: "Chinese is the language of the future."

Too bad I was a rebellious teenager—because it turns out my old man was right after all. Chinese is the language of the future, and to prove it, Voice of America conducted research that proves that Interest in Learning Chinese May be Growing Exponentially. After contacting Rosetta Stone to check whether Chinese is, in fact, growing exponentially, VOA interviewed Asia Society's Chris Livaccari, Associate Director of Education and Chinese language initiatives.

Livaccari, whose Chinese-teaching methods are gaining popularity across the country by making lessons both more engaging and easy, said: "In the United States if you look at the headlines over the last several years, it's clear that there is a perception among Americans that China is the place that is going to define our future."

The relationship between the US and China is also one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world right now. According to Livaccari, the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages just released a report that suggests Chinese to be the fastest-growing language, with a growth rate of 195 percent.

To the native English speaker, a language like Chinese, with its unfamiliar alphabet and intonations, may be more than a little daunting. In his interview, Livaccari conceded, "Chinese is really unique. It takes an incredible investment of time and energy for students to know enough Chinese characters to be literature... but it comes with great opportunities."

In an era when educators in the US are looking toward Asia to learn how to teach students subjects like math and science more successfully, teaching Chinese may also be another positive step. To learn more about Asia Society's Chinese-language initiatives, watch the video below:

Cambodian prince re-enters politics

Cambodian Prince Norodom Ranariddh returned to politics Saturday with a vow to reinvigorate the flagging royalist movement, taking the helm of his former party which has re-adopted his name.

Cambodian prince re-enters politics

Cambodian prince re-enters politics

Two years after quitting politics, Prince Ranariddh, who was Cambodia's first elected prime minister in 1993 after years of civil war, was re-instated as president of the party he created during a meeting in the capital.

Party members also agreed to re-name the Nationalist Party the Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP).

The 66-year-old son of former king Norodom Sihanouk said in a speech that he was returning to politics to re-unite royalists ahead of 2012 local elections and a 2013 general election.

"I have seen that the royalists are hopeless, separated, I want them to be one family," he said.

Ranariddh called for an alliance with fellow royalist party Funcinpec, with him as leader.

"The prince wants to create a new party called Funcinpec 81 before 2012," party spokesman Pen Sangha told AFP. "The ball is now in the court of Funcinpec."

Ranariddh has been off the political scene since late 2008, when he said he was quitting the opposition after receiving a royal pardon on fraud charges and returning from self-imposed exile in Malaysia.

The prince's political career had begun with great promise when he won Cambodia's UN-sponsored election in 1993 as head of the royalist Funcinpec party.

However, he was forced to accept Hun Sen as co-prime minister, who then staged a coup in 1997.

In following elections, Ranariddh's voter appeal diminished as he entered into coalition agreements with Hun Sen's ruling Cambodian People's Party.

In 2006, he was ejected from Funcinpec over fraud allegations involving the illegal sale of the party's headquarters. He formed the NRP shortly afterwards.

The prince was sentenced in absentia to 18 months in jail over the fraud charges the following year but was later pardoned.

The NRP won just two parliamentary seats in Cambodia's 2008 general election, as did Funcinpec. The NRP then changed its name to the Nationalist Party.

Both parties have in the past expressed an interest in merging to improve the royalist movement's flagging fortunes.

Hun Sen warned the prince earlier this week that if he was coming back to politics, he would not be able to stay on as an adviser to Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni, Ranariddh's half-brother.

Over 4000 Vietnamese women and children trafficked abroad in five years

VietNamNet Bridge – Nearly 1600 human trafficking cases were discovered in Vietnam in the past five years, with over 3500 women and nearly 500 kids being sold abroad, according to statistics by the Public Security Ministry.

According to statistics, over 60 percent of the victims were sold to China and 11 percent to Cambodia. Police also arrested 2900 people involved in these cases.

Human trafficking has become very complicated in Vietnam in recent years. Some cases discovered by police were organizational and transnational.

Vietnam is trying to build laws and cooperate with other countries to curb human trafficking.

It is estimated that at least 22,000 women and children were illegally sent to China during the 1990s.

In Vietnam, trafficking can take the form of arranged marriages that frequently result in the women becoming domestic slaves rather than wives. Other victims find themselves in the sex trade instead of the factory job they were promised.

According to UNICEF, approximately 60% of the estimated 45,000 prostitutes in Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh, are Vietnamese.

Vietnamese men, women, and girls are trafficked for sexual and labor exploitation in Cambodia, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic for commercial sexual exploitation.

Women and men are trafficked for forced labor in factories and for construction or as domestic servants. Vietnamese trafficking victims are recruited through fraudulent marriages, false promises of employment, licensed and unlicensed migrant labor recruiting agencies.

Cambodian airport project includes new city

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — A South Korean company contracted to build a new airport serving visitors to Cambodia's famed Angkor temples says its $1 billion project will also encompass a new city and industrial estate.

NSRIA Co. Ltd. in a statement received Thursday said its planned New Siem Reap International Airport and linked developments represent Cambodia's "largest national project" and Korea's first-ever export of its airport development and operation expertise.

The statement, which expands upon partial information released by the Cambodian government and in the Korean press, said its concession for the project spans 65 years — covering five years of construction and 60 years of operation — after which it can be extended.

NSRIA is Cambodian joint venture whose main investors are two South Korean companies, Lees A&A Co. Ltd. and Camko Airport Co. Ltd.

The statement said the project will include an adjacent "Special Economic Zone," a dry port and a 15.4 square mile (40 square kilometer) city.

South Korea in recent years has become a major investor in Cambodia, ranking number two after China by some measurements. However, some ambitious Korean-funded real estate developments in Phnom Penh, the capital, have stalled.

The new airport will be able to handle Boeing 747s, making it the country's first capable of handling direct long haul flights from Europe and North America, said the statement. The area is currently served by a modern but small airport.

The airport will be located 25 miles (40 km) east of Angkor Wat, the statement said, alleviating concerns about potential noise and vibration damage to the centuries-old temples at Angkor, Cambodia's main tourist attraction.

There is concern that the temples, already damaged by warfare, looting and the ravages of weather, could be harmed by a greater influx of tourists.

Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-2011, with operations to start in late 2015. At the end of the $500 million first phase, the airport will have the capacity to handle 4 million passengers a year, and will be able to handle 15 million after expansion.

Cambodia had 2.3 million visitors this year, with about half of them visiting the temples, according to Kong Sophearak, statistics director for the Tourism Ministry.

The statement said the special economic zone will provide an alternative for South Korean companies to investing in China and Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam where labor costs are rising from low levels.

Flying to Cambodia: A $1 Billion Aerotropolis

BY Jenara Nerenberg
The New Siem Reap International Airport is breaking ground next year, backed by South Koreans.

How do you say "aerotropolis" in Khmer? Looks like we're about to find out.

Cambodia will begin construction on its very own airport city next year--the New Siem Reap International Airport, with an adjacent special economic zone, dry port, and 15.4 square mile city--to capitalize on increasing tourist numbers from neighboring countries and increasing foreign investment interest.

The airport will be completed in five and a half years at a cost of $1 billion and the contracted South Korean-Cambodian joint venture, NSRIA Co. Ltd., will operate it for 65 years. The airport, 25 miles east of Angkor Wat, will accommodate 747s, allowing direct flights to arrive from Europe and North America.

An airport city such as Cambodia's fits the label of an aerotropolis--a planned city with an airport as its central node and related infrastructure, businesses, and working families surrounding it. An Aerotropolis thus becomes an engine of local economic development, something Cambodia is desperately in need of.

"It doesn't matter how much they spend on the project, or how much expertise the South Korean investors bring to bear. What matters is how many flights a day the airport has, and to where," says Fast Company contributor and co-author of the forthcoming book, Aerotropolis: The Way We'll Live Next, Greg Lindsay.

"There's a saying that 'airlines don't serve airports; they serve markets,' meaning they want to go where passengers already are," says Lindsay. "In this case, the tourist draw of Angkor Wat could be a big help and considering the United Nations' World Tourism Organization expects China to have 100 million outbound tourists a year by 2020, Cambodia is probably trying to snag a few million."

Cambodia hopes that its very own aerotropolis will help spur local economic development, via foreign investment and the appeal of cheap labor. But the question remains whether there will be enough numbers flying in and out of the country. This year the country saw 2.3 million visitors, but the annual capacity of the new airport will be 15 million, leaving a huge gap to be filled. Where will all the tourists and foreign investors come from?

"With enough flights and enough connectivity, anything is possible," Lindsay tells Fast Company. "The likely model for Cambodia's aerotropolis is Subic Bay in the Philippines, which transformed the former U.S. Navy base into a fairly large high-tech manufacturing zone in the 1990s after FedEx opened its pan-Asian hub there."

As Cambodia is increasingly in competition with its neighbors--namely Vietnam, as well as China, where the first Kashgar-Pakistan cargo flight was just launched this week--it's likely that the country wants to secure its current standing among tourists and its future standing in the realm of trade.

"Vietnam is building its own massive new international airport outside Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok tried to build its own aerotropolis in 2006, only to be derailed by political turmoil," Lindsay points out. "Can Cambodia succeed in winning a piece for themselves? Who knows, but they're certainly willing to try."


Danish firm wins VN-Cambodia border map bid

Danish firm wins VN-Cambodia border map bid

BlomInfo A/S of Denmark has won the bid to produce a new set of maps of the national border between Vietnam and Cambodia.

The winner was announced at a press briefing in Phnom Penh on Dec. 17 following a meeting of the Vietnam-Cambodia Joint Committee on Border Demarcation.

At the press briefing, Deputy Head of the Vietnam Foreign Ministry’s National Border Committee Nguyen Hong Thao and Senior Minister of the Royal Cambodian Government Var Kim Hong said that the selection was based on assessments by experts of the two countries during their working session from Dec. 1-10.

The two sides affirmed that choosing an international bidding process for making the border map – and showing locations of demarcating border landmarks – aimed to ensure objectivity, science and accuracy and to be aligned with international laws.

The success of the bidding manifested close cooperation and determination of the two countries to fulfill all border demarcation-related work by 2012 with the aim of building a common border of peace, friendship and cooperation./. Copy from

Children’s choral charity aids Cambodia

Ta Pen is the fifth project by Don du Choeur since 2002.
Image Caption: Ta Pen is the fifth project by Don du Choeur since 2002. (

by Simon Bradley,

In the remote Cambodian village of Ta Pen children are experiencing their first-ever term at school thanks to the dulcet tones of Geneva youngsters.

Ta Pen is the latest project by the Geneva-based Don du Choeur association, which since 2002 has been organising concerts every two or three years bringing together some 350 children from local private schools to raise money for deprived children around the world.

“I had to explain to them how Swiss kids aged 8-12 had taken two years to learn to sing for a concert to collect money to build their new school,” Chamrong Lo, a former Cambodian refugee, explained proudly.

The tiny Cambodian village is situated some 45 kilometres from the famous Angkor Wat temples, which attract tens of thousands of visitors each year. Yet the 150 families from Ta Pen live in a totally different world, growing rice and raising cattle while earning $1 a day selling thatched roofing to traders on motorbikes who regularly pass by.

“There are lots of women with five to seven kids who have been abandoned by their husbands. Around 95 per cent are illiterate and almost all of the kids have never had any schooling,” said Lo, adding that some of the children suffer from malnutrition.

In May 2009 the Geneva charity, along with 13 private French- and English-speaking schools, organised a concert at the prestigious Victoria Hall to raise funds for Ta Pen. The result: over SFr125,000 donated and 17 months later, a brand-new school building, equipped with toilets, showers, a community hall, canteen and a dormitory for the teachers.

The project, which aims to lay the foundations of a solid primary education for children aged 6 to 14, was identified, developed and brought to completion by Lo, who had returned to his native country after over 20 years in Geneva.

The former Cambodian refugee arrived in Switzerland in 1980 with his wife and two children after the fall of the Pol Pot regime. For three years they stayed with a family in Geneva’s wealthy Cologny district, his children went to a local international school and he found a job at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) headquarters in Geneva.

“I eventually retired in 2005 but I wanted to be useful to Cambodia and it was a great chance meeting the people from Don du Choeur in 2009,” he noted.

The singers came from 13 private French- and English-speaking schools.

The singers came from 13 private French- and English-speaking schools. (

Ideal person

The association had heard that Lo was moving back to Cambodia and he was the ideal person to implement the project.

“I trained as an archaeologist but I have an idea about architecture, as I built my own home in Cambodia from A-Z,” he explained.

Over a 12-month period, Lo stayed four or five days a week at a local farmer’s house to oversee the building work, dealing with land-grabbing issues and trucks blocked by the rains, purchasing materials and chivvying along workers, most of whom were local women.

On October 1, 2010 some 250 local children kitted out in pristine white shirts and black shorts and skirts gathered for their first ever day at school.

“The schoolyard was full as we handed out the uniforms. Everyone was really delighted,” said Lo.

“It’s very gratifying, as I feel I’ve accomplished my work and offered an education to these children who have quite frankly been living in obscurity.”

Fifth project

Ta Pen is the fifth project by Don du Choeur since 2002, following concerts for children’s initiatives in Africa, Switzerland, Russia and India.

The association was formed after a group of five private school teachers from Geneva got together to create concerts with students to raise money and interest about children living in other parts of the world.

It now comprises a small committee and a dozen volunteers who put on the concerts with around a dozen schools from the Association of Geneva Private Schools.

“It takes around a year and a half to organise a concert with about 350-400 kids and five or six teachers,” explained the president, Isabelle Chatel.

The three most recent Geneva concerts, which sell around 2,500 tickets, and related fundraising events brought in over SFr1.5 million for educational and health projects in Russia, India and Cambodia.

Lives completely changed

Some SFr480,000 went towards improving the lives and education of children living at the Tambov orphanage, 500km southeast of Moscow, in a humid region where temperatures can drop to -30 degrees Celsius.

Many of the 160 orphans were suffering from pulmonary illnesses as the orphanage was not heated, windows were broken and the roof was damaged.

“Their lives have since completely changed,” said Chatel. “The state has agreed to look after the children to make sure they complete their education up to the age of 18.

“Before they left school at 16 and as there were no formal structures 60 per cent ended up in prison. For three years not one has ended up there, and all have jobs.”

The orphanage has now been taken over by Russian donors and is sponsored by a private company so it can survive on its own, added the former pharmacist.

In 2007 the new Anbumalar School near Chennai in southern India, funded by Don du Choeur, officially opened its doors to 63 mentally handicapped children. Today some 75 children attend the school.

“The kids used to be chained to posts in the streets by their parents as there were no specialised places to leave them while they went to work,” said Chatel.

The school is now part of the local scene, with a medical dispensary and several local businesses. And from the beginning of the 2012 school year, the school will be entirely funded by the Indian government.

Don du Choeur is meanwhile already planning its next concert in Geneva in 2012, which should go towards an educational project in either Africa or Haiti.

France Telecom looking at investing in Cambodia's Mobitel

PARIS: France Telecom is in the running to take a minority stake in Cambodian mobile operator Mobitel, according to a French embassy official in the Southeast Asian country, as part of its bid to expand in emerging markets.

Mobitel is one of the two brands owned by CamGSM, which is the largest mobile operator in Cambodia and is owned by the Royal Group .

"France Telecom has at least one competing bidder in its effort to acquire a stake in Mobitel... they are in the final process, but now it's up to Mobitel to choose a partner," said a high-ranking official at the embassy, relating statements made by Dominique Mas, first counsellor at the French Embassy.

The competitor could be Telekomunikasi Indonesia, which is in talks to acquire a majority stake in CamGSM in a deal that could be worth more than $500 million.

France Telecom declined to comment on Friday.

Cambodia postpones closure of Vietnamese refugee centre

PHNOM PENH — Cambodia on Friday extended a deadline to shut down a refugee centre housing dozens of Vietnamese ethnic minority Montagnards, giving in to pleas by the UN refugee agency for more time.

The largely Christian Montagnard community -- a group whose members backed US forces during the Vietnam war -- say they face repression in Vietnam.

The Cambodian office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had earlier been informed by the foreign ministry that the facility in Phnom Penh would be closed on January 1.

In a letter, it urged the UNHCR to speed up the resettlement of 62 Montagnards who had been granted refugee status and vowed to repatriate any remaining refugees to Vietnam, prompting the UNHCR to request more time.

"We extended the date of closing down the centre from January 1 to February 15, 2011" Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong told AFP.

But he said 14 Montagnards who had not yet received refugee status still faced being sent back to Vietnam.

"We do not want any refugee centre in Phnom Penh any more," he said, adding that the centre was never meant to be a long-term solution.

A spokeswoman for UNHCR said she had not been officially informed of the delay but welcomed the move.

"We very much hope that it's true. That would give us the extra time we need to find long-term solutions for those 62 Montagnards," UNHCR Asia spokeswoman Kitty McKinsey told AFP.

She refused to comment on the situation of the 14 other Montagnards.

Around 2,000 Montagnards fled to Cambodia in 2001 and 2004 after security forces crushed protests against land confiscations and religious persecution.

Vietnam, Cambodia and the UNHCR signed an agreement in January 2005 under which Montagnards may choose whether to resettle in a third country or return home. Cambodia has refused to allow them to stay in the kingdom.

The majority were resettled, with the United States taking in most.

Communist Vietnam has strongly denied a 2006 accusation by the New York-based Human Rights Watch that it had detained and tortured Montagnards who returned home.

Vea Ja Dongraek

Dear all readers, I am so sorry to hear about the Ki-media site going to block by the government of Cambodia. I know we all try to express what is the real in Cambodia and we want to help our nation. I, myself always read the news in Ki-Media and also try to find some news to post in my site and pass it to everyone.

Even, I can't help our people much enough but I will do my best. I do post the news alone besides my study. Sometimes it takes me to long to update the news that's why there is a few people come across in my site. Right now I need the friends to help me in posting the news. As son of the Angkor empire I can't stand for what they doing now. Many people lost their land, corruption, illegal migration of Vietnamese and so on. In recently, they do ignore about the border even many people cry out that Vietnamese take over the Cambodia land. If what the Vietnamese did is right why they do not allow the Cambodian people come and see that place. Any way, when there is the protesting in any case the government always let the police as well as the soldiers come to split out the crowd. When the people face the problem such as grabbing land, and especially the invading of Vietnamese"Where are the polices and the soldiers?"

Cambodia to shut Vietnamese refugee centre

Vietnamese Montagnards are airlifted to Phnom Penh in 2004
Hundreds of Montagnards have fled to Cambodia since 2001

Related stories

Cambodia says it will shut a centre for Vietnamese refugees on 1 January and send those remaining back to Vietnam, where they allegedly face repression.

The UN refugee agency has pleaded for more time to resettle the 62 refugees.

They are the last group of asylum-seekers known as Montagnards - an ethnic minority that largely sided with US forces during the Vietnam war.

Cambodia has refused to allow them to settle, saying they must choose to go to a third country or back to Vietnam.

Hundreds of Montagnards have fled to Cambodia since 2001, after Vietnam's communist government cracked down on protests against land confiscation and religious persecution.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has already has granted the Montagnards refugee status.

"We have asked the Cambodian government to give us more time to find a long-term solution for these 62 individuals who are at that site, and we hope that the Cambodian government will give us a favourable reply," Kitty McKinsey of UNHCR told the BBC Vietnamese service.

"They haven't sent them back yet, so let's not get ahead of ourselves."

Cambodia says it wants to close the shelter in Phnom Penh to deter any further arrivals from Vietnam.

"If we don't tell them to close the site, the work of the UNHCR will be prolonged endlessly," Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...