PHNOM PENH, April 29 (Xinhua) — Cambodia is the third most populous country in Southeast Asia for Chinese nationals and their descendants, the Khmer Times reported on Friday, citing a Chinese researcher.

Luo Yang, an associate professor at the Chinese Institute of Overseas Chinese History Studies in Beijing, said she had written her doctoral thesis on the civilizations of Cambodia.

Based on a study, there are between 900,000 and one million Chinese and Chinese-Cambodians now living in Cambodia, Yang told the newspaper while one of its journalists visited Beijing last week.

She said that Chinese and Chinese-Cambodians "occupy seven percent of (Cambodia's) total population."

The study shows that of 900,000 Chinese or Chinese-Cambodians living in the country, about 100,000 retained their Chinese citizenship, while the remaining 800,000 have secured Cambodian citizenship.

"I think it is a big number compared to Singapore, Malaysia and other Southeast Asia countries," Yang said.

She added that Singapore is the most populous ASEAN country for Chinese nationals and their descendants, while Indonesia is the second most populous.

Yang said she decided to study Cambodia after reading the work of Chinese scholar Zhou Daquan, who was a prominent historian working in Cambodia in the 13th century. His primary focus was on the Angkor civilization, and his work shed light on many of the ancient structures such as the Bayon Temple and Angkor Wat that were built by the once-powerful civilization.

"I write about the civilizations of Angkor, about culture, religion and the social lives of current Cambodian people," she said.