Ethnic Chinese in Cambodia

Reaksmey Kampuchea, 01.02.14

Reaksmey Kampuchea, 01.02.14

According to an article published in Reaksmey Kampuchea, a leading Khmer language newspaper, Prime Minister Hun Sen sent a Well Wishes Letter to all Sino-Khmer on 30 January 2014 during the Lunar New Year. He praised the ethnic Chinese for being part of all Cambodians during good and bad time together. Cambodia now enjoys “full strategic partnership” with China in term of diplomatic relations. Cambodia under Prince Sihanouk recognized Red China under Mao in the early fifties.

Based on the statistics of the Chinese associations in Cambodia, there are currently 700,000 Sino-Khmer in this country. They are mostly well off and have high function in business, in the government, police and military as well. In total, around 150 Chinese associations are registered in Cambodia. They are playing big role in our society and are well-integrated into the mainstream.

According to William Willmott, a researcher on Chinese in Cambodia, ethnic Chinese are among the biggest ethnic group in 1960. By the end of 1960, there were about 425,000 ethnic Chinese in Cambodia. But, due to war and ethnic cleansing under the Khmer Rouge regime (1975-79), only 61,000 ethnic Chinese were recorded in 1984. It means that the ethnic Chinese has been increased more than ten times in the last thirty years. In comparison to the whole population of Cambodia, this has been double from 7 (in the eighties) to more than 14 million now.

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