China's Growing Presence in Cambodia Makes Waves

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On June 22, in Sihanoukville, a port city in southwest Cambodia, a Chinese-owned building under construction collapsed, killing at least 28 people, all Cambodians. The owner had undertaken the construction without the required permit, and defied orders to cease work. But given the breakneck pace of Chinese-backed construction in the city, and the lack of oversight and standards, tragedies like this seemed inevitable.

Yaqiu Wang, a China researcher at Human Rights Watch, recently visited Sihanoukville, where Chinese people comprise an estimated 20 to 30 percent of the population. Writing for ChinaFile, she recounted meeting Chinese visitors who claimed their presence was improving Cambodia. But not everyone agrees.

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