The Chinese in Cambodia
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Chinese is found at all levels of the rice industry—trade, processing, and transportation—but very few Chinese have ever been rice-growing peasants in Cambodia. With the exception of a small number of Hakka peasants in Takeo Province, the only rice growers who might be considered Chinese are some among the peasants of Battambang Province who have Hokkien forebears, but they are so thoroughly assimilated to Cambodian village life that it makes little sense to speak of them today as Chinese.
to a great extent on rainfall (Robequain, 309). Since only one-fifth of the rice harvest is for export,11 small variations in the total harvest can cause considerable fluctuations in the amounts available for sale. To guard against ruin in bad years, the small-scale local rice dealer usually combines his business in rice with other lines, such as lending money and retailing manufactured goods. This follows the common practice among overseas Chinese businessmen of carrying on various lines of
chef chinois pour les Chinois, etc. . . . (Nguyen, 21 n5) Nguyen has turned too quickly from the evidence. In stressing that the Chinese were legally subjects of the Cambodian king, he ignores the fact that the Kram Srok states explicitly (article 7) that the Chinese are to be considered as foreigners, that 'ils ne constituent point la force vive du royaume' (Levasseur, 55). Levasseur, whose important legal study of the Chinese in Indochina does not appear among the references cited by Nguyen,
Cambodian language or customs (BAG 1940, 1533-5). There remains the questions of jurisdiction of various courts over the Chinese during the French regime in Cambodia. Long before French rule, the Khmer kingdom possessed what has been described as a well developed and rational system of justice (Boudineau, 984), which applied to the Chinese as well as to all other resident aliens (Nicolas, 88). The French, however, following a policy of 'uniting the greatest possible number under the hegemony of
dozen, however, are run by elected school boards; these schools depend on financial contributions from among their Chinese constituency. A Chinese hospital has existed in Phnom-Penh since 1906, when the five hui-guan together established it. Prior to the demise of the congregations, it was run by a board representing the five hui-guan. In 1961 an association called the Chinese Hospital Committee to Aid Healing (Zhong-Hua Yi-yuan Yi-liao Xie-zhu Hui) was organised to sustain the 6 This arrangement