The Southeast Asian nation has historically been seen as China's first client state, with the Khmer Rouge's hardline interpretation of Maoism leading to the horror of the Killing Fields. Four decades on, Cambodia still enjoys the best and the worst of what the People’s Republic can offer. While aid from Beijing has built world-class infrastructure and provided clean drinking water to Cambodians, Chinese companies are also responsible for a tidal wave of scams, illegal casinos and even recent cases of human trafficking. China's building a military base at Ream on the Gulf of Thailand, only its second overseas base, amid public denials from Cambodian officials. To delve into the history and complexity of China’s relationship with Cambodia, we’re joined by Matthew Galway of the Australian National University and the author of The Emergence of Global Maoism: China’s Red Evangelism and the Cambodian Communist movement 1949-1979, and Andrew Mertha, director of the SAIS China Global Research Center at John Hopkins University and the author of Brothers in Arms: Chinese aid to the Khmer Rouge 1975 to 1979.
Image: Prince Sihanouk visits China, November 1964. c/- Wikimedia Commons and People’s Daily.