Join us for a discussion with journalist Sebastian Strangio on his book Hun Sen’s Cambodia
. The book charts the country’s history since the collapse of the murderous Khmer Rouge regime in 1979, a period that has been dominated by the pugnacious personality of Hun Sen, one of the world’s longest-ruling leaders.
With Hun Sen now into his 33rd
year in control, however, his hold on power may be slipping. A youthful population, more educated and connected than perhaps any generation that has come before, nearly swept Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party from power at the last election in 2013. With local elections looming in June, followed by a crunch national poll in mid-2018, the country has spent the past year in a phase of confrontation, in which the authorities have jailed more than 25 political opponents and driven the opposition leader Sam Rainsy into exile. The climate of fear and uncertainty is encapsulated by the assassination in July of the popular grassroots organizer Kem Ley—an unsettling echo of earlier, more violent phase of Cambodian politics.
Mr. Strangio will discuss the origins of Cambodia’s current political problems, and the shifting constellations of regional and global power in which local struggles are being played out.
is an author, journalist and independent analyst focusing on Southeast Asia. From 2008 to 2011 he worked as an editor and reporter at The Phnom Penh Post
, and he has since traveled and reported extensively in Cambodia, as well as from Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, South Korea, and the Russian Far East. Since the release of his book Hun Sen’s Cambodia
(Yale University Press, 2014), he has become a leading commentator on politics in Cambodia, and has published journal articles and book chapters on various aspects of the country’s affairs. He currently splits his time between Phnom Penh and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he is a research affiliate at the Carolina Asia Center.