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2022/42 “Cambodian Perception of the New Chinese” by Vannarith Chheang*


  • The New Chinese of Cambodia—Chinese migrants who arrived in the country after the 1990s—reinforce the existing politico-economic order characterized by the dominant economic role of the ethnic Chinese. 
  • A preliminary online survey of 100 respondents was conducted in February 2022 to understand public perception of the New Chinese in Cambodia. The findings show that Cambodians generally perceive the New Chinese positively (52 out of 100 responses). The survey is a pilot study and does not claim to be conclusive, and further surveys should be conducted in the future.
  • The New Chinese are perceived to have significant political and economic influence over the politico-economic establishment. Remarkably, 64 per cent of respondents perceive the New Chinese as having strong economic influence and 17 per cent rate it as very high. In terms of political influence, 38 per cent rate it as high and 15 per cent rate it as very high. 
  • The social tension between Cambodians and the New Chinese is rated high (45 per cent) and very high (14 per cent). This is mainly due to a lack of mutual understanding and respect, language barrier and miscommunication, and the bad behaviour of some New Chinese.

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