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Tuesday, 22 May 2001
Page: 26748

Mr Danby asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 26 February 2001:

(1) Is he aware of new evidence unearthed by the non-government Documentary Centre of Cambodia of the notorious Tuol Sleng interrogation and detention centre in central Phnom Penh regarding the presence of Chinese advisers to the Pol Pot regime.

(2) Has the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh or the Australian Chinese Human Rights Dialogue evaluated the photographs and evidence that 10 Chinese advisers provided training to the Pol Pot death squad.

(3) Is he able to say whether a Chinese Embassy spokesperson Wu Chingshen warned the editors of the capital's English language daily newspaper the Phnom Penh Post of unspeakable negative effects if they published the story.

(4) Did the Beijing regime in November oppose the proposal of the UN special envoy on human rights to Cambodia to elect a permanent or even ad hoc international tribunal on Khmer Rouge genocide.

(5) Has the Chinese Government taken over much of the suspended Western aid to the Hun Sen Government in Cambodia.

(6) Has the Hun Sen Government thwarted recent proposals for an international criminal tribunal into the crimes of the Khmer Rouge.

Mr Downer (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) No.

(2) Embassy officials have met with Youk Chhang, Director of the DCC in regard to this story and the report prepared by the DCC.

(3) No.

(4) Chinese Government opposition to the United Nations Special Envoy on Human Rights, Thomas Hammerberg's submission to the United Nations General Assembly in November 1997, calling for the United Nations to proceed with an international Khmer Rouge Tribunal, has been well documented.

(5) The Chinese Government is a significant player in Cambodia. It is not possible to quantify China's financial aid to Cambodia as these figures are not released by the Chinese Government.

(6) The Australian Government has welcomed the conclusion of deliberations on the draft Khmer Rouge Law by the Cambodian Constitutional Council on 12 February. This follows the successful passage of the law through the Cambodian Parliament and Senate in January. The draft law will now be re-considered by the National Assembly and then submitted to King Norodom Sihanouk, before final consultations between the Cambodian Government and the United Nations. These are positive developments for Cambodia in moving a step closer to bringing to trial senior Khmer Rouge leaders, an issue in which great sensitivities still exist within Cambodian society.