Three notable events have boosted the democratic process in Southeast Asia in recent decades. The fall of the Marcos regime in 1986, the Reformasi
that shifted Indonesian politics in the late 1990s, and Aung San Suu Kyi's victory over the military junta in Myanmar. However, today Marcos' son is president of the Philippines, Indonesian presidential candidates want to centralize power again, and Myanmar is embroiled in an armed conflict.
What is going on in the region, and what does this mean for democracy?
Democracy is declining in Southeast Asia. The Cambodian prime minister will hand over his office to his son later this month, after rigged elections. Meanwhile, Thailand's largest political party is kept from power.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen walks into a diplomatic minefield these days. He supports UN resolutions against Putin but does not want to jeopardize the long-standing friendship with Russia. At the same time, he tries to be less dependent on the West, both economically and politically.
The anniversary is not actually celebrated. After all these years, talking about the Khmer Rouge is still controversial. This is partly because the genocide came ‘from within’. Almost every family has a feud that goes back to this dark history in the seventies.
The new Macau. That's what the Cambodian coastal city Sihanoukville is called nowadays. Chinese investors are building casinos there on a massive scale.
The southern port city lies on the new Silk Road (the so called 'One Belt, One Road') and is therefore interesting for China.
The Cambodian government is happy to accept the money. And Beijing never asks difficult questions.