Modes of Non-Compliance: How Duterte and Hun Sen Protected Chinese Cyber Fraud Operations

with Dr. Alvin Camba
Feb 15, 2024, 5:00 pm6:30 pm
Princeton University Students, Faculty and Staff



Event Description

Join CISS and Dr. Alvin Camba for a discussion on his working paper, "Modes of Non-Compliance: How Duterte and Hun Sen Protected Chinese Cyber Fraud Operations." 

How do leaders from small and medium-sized states pursue non-compliance when great powers enact pressure? Existing literature in non-compliance examine non-compliance in two ways. On the one hand, some works focus on when sanctions are able or unable to elicit compliance. On the other, there is an emerging literature on “hedging,” referring to how small states maneuver pressure from great powers. Despite these advancements, there has been limited analysis on how host country leaders or states enact non-compliance. Examining Chinese cyber fraud operations in the Philippines and Cambodia, Dr. Camba argues that Duterte enacted mutual enmeshment and Cambodia’s Hun Sen illustrated visible deference. Duterte enmeshed Chinese power by tying Chinese interests to his regime’s survival. Duterte knew his online gambling operations could continue without serious intervention from China. In contrast, visible deference is when states excessively comply with the great power’s pressure but fail to implement follow-up policies to ensure non-compliance. Hun Sen quickly complied with the Chinese government’s demands to shut down the online gambling sector. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, Hun Sen’s own family and business elites – many are Chinese citizens turned Cambodians – converted many of the online gambling firms into other types of cyber fraud operations. Hun Sen has sworn to work with China to shutdown cyber fraud companies but has yet to actively criminalize his own network of political and business elites.


About the Speaker 

Alvin Camba is an Assistant Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. He received his PhD in Sociology from the Johns Hopkins University. He is a faculty affiliate at the Center for International Environment & Resource Policy and the Climate Policy Lab at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. His research has been awarded multiple best research paper awards by several academic networks (International Studies Association, American Sociological Association, GRADNAS), has been published in top development and political economy journals (e.g., Review of International Political Economy, Development and Change, Energy Research and Social Science, etc.), and has contributed to widely-circulated think tank policy papers (e.g. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the International Republican Institute, and Center for International Private Enterprise) on China’s activities in Southeast Asia. He has been cited and/or interviewed by The Financial Times, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and other news outlets, and invited to speak at The World Bank, the US State Department, AidData, etc. Most recently, Dr. Camba is part of the Carnegie Corporation of New York-funded Responsible Public Engagement project at the Korbel School. The project investigates, among others, China’s disinformation strategies and investments in rare earths.