Networking with Other Chinese Communities
Maintaining regular and close cooperation links with other Chinese communities is important for the survival and development of the Gangshang group. It has relations with the Singapore Chamber of Commerce in
Cambodia, the Malaysian Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia and the China Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia.
The local ethnic-Chinese community has been established for generations, and a nationwide umbrella organization named Jianhua Lishi Zonghui (All-Cambodian Ethnic Chinese Association) was re-established on December 26, 1990 with the approval of the Hun Sen regime. It comprises five dialect groups and 18 branches in all of Cambodia’s provinces. It has set up more than 70 Chinese schools, with one in almost every town and big village. More than 50,000 Chinese students have enrolled to study Chinese language and culture (Wu 1993). The community numbers between 600,000 and 800,000, 250,000 of whom live in Phnom Penh. Some are wealthy and maintain links with senior officials. The Gangshang community treats these local ethnic Chinese with care and respect, regularly inviting their leaders to dinner, and it donates money and provisions to support poor ethnic Chinese.
There are regular exchanges between Gangshang and Chinese from mainland China and Taiwan, although it is my observation that the relationship between Gangshang and businessmen from mainland China and Taiwan is not close. Relations are harmonious but built on the basis of mutual respect and understanding rather than of real trust and cooperation.