Gov’t’s preoccupation with ‘colour revolution’ reveals misunderstandings
WHEN a senior government official on Wednesday said Cambodia would form a joint “think tank” with China to investigate the root causes of “colour revolutions”, he appeared to betray not only the Kingdom’s accelerating shift away from Western democratic norms, but also an apparent misunderstanding of the movements themselves.
The term “colour revolution” – which refers to popular protest movements that have toppled regimes in the former Soviet Bloc and Middle East – has become a common refrain among government officials and members of the security services, who have invoked its spectre to justify a more aggressive stance against dissent in the Kingdom. The escalating rhetoric culminated this month with the arrest of opposition leader Kem Sokha on charges of “treason”, allegedly for conspiring with the United States to foment a colour revolution.
However, a close study of colour revolutions elsewhere reveals a truth that Cambodian officials appear not to grasp: in taking such a hard line against the phenomenon itself, the Cambodian government is often drawing unflattering comparisons between itself and some of the most autocratic regimes of the modern era.
More specifically, in countries where such movements CONTINUED
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