Gov't Bans Book Criticizing Current Leaders
The Cambodia DailyFriday,
December 17, 2004
By Thet Sambath
The Ministry of Information has banned the sale and circulation of a bookof French origin that alleges involvement by Prime Minister Hun Sen andother high-ranking officials in the crimes of the Khmer Rouge regime.
Police and ministry officials began confiscating copies of the three-volume"Who Is Angkar?" from Phnom Penh bookshops and libraries last month,Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said Thursday.
"I ordered them to collect these books from shops because the book accusesChea Sim, CPP's president, Prime Minister Hun Sen, CPP's deputy president,and Heng Samrin, CPP's honorary president, of being behind Tuol Slengprison and participating in Tuol Sleng prison," Khieu Kanharith said. "Whywould we sell these? They have all already been collected."
The copies circulating here are unofficial tranlations from a 1993 Frenchbook written by author Kim Thy Uoy. Each volume features coverillustrations of Hun Sen, Pol Pot, Chea Sim, Ho Chi Minh and formercommunist leaders Son Ngoc Minh and Tou Samouth. There is no publisherinformation on the book.
In addition to the accusations against the CPP officials, the bookcriticizes Vietnam for invading Cambodia and China for supporting the KhmerRouge.
Srey Pov, a book, magazine and newspaper vendor near Wat Langka, said thebook was a bestseller before it was banned. "I sold it well in the past. Iordered the printer to get more for me to sell but, he told me it is bannedfrom shops," she said Thursday. "I do not dare display it in myshop[anymore]."
Another Phnom Penh vendor, who asked for anonymity for fear of reprisal,said police and officials seized five copies of the book from his shop lastmonth.
"They did not tell me the reason [why], but said it was just upper leader'sorders," he said.
According to the law, the Ministry of Information and the Ministry ofInterior can confiscate any publications harmful to national security orpolitical stability.
Documentation Center of Cambodia Director Youk Chhang was critical of theban. "It is a waste of time to ban these books," he said.