In June 2019, the collapse of a Chinese-owned building under construction in Sihanoukville killed 28 Cambodians (workers and their families). Caused by low-quality materials, the tragedy shortly became a national scandal as civil society and opposition representatives questioned the responsibility of the Cambodian authorities and the lack of regulation of Chinese business. Obviously, the collapse fueled anti-Chinese sentiment among Cambodians, angered by the increasing influence of China in the country and fearing a ‘takeover’. The paper proposes to look at the development of Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative in Cambodia as a form of ‘low-intensity occupation’ enforced not through weapons but massive investments. It asks to what extent this situation may invoke for Cambodians a dark period of their history, namely the Democratic Kampuchea years (1975-1979). At the time, China supported the Khmer Rouge regime in many ways – financially, economically, diplomatically, militarily and through professional assistance (sending advisors, engineers and photographers to Cambodia). My paper addresses this possible resonance, but also the discrepancy between past and present through documentary and artistic images. So doing, it aims to explore the contribution of visual culture to analyzing the production of representations of Chinese presence in Cambodia by different parties (official bodies, media, NGOs, communities, individuals). It is based on: fieldwork documentation; interviews; printed, electronic and social media; artworks (performances and videos); Democratic Kampuchea-related archives. This wide range of sources makes possible to reflect on the visualization of ‘occupation’ from multiple perspectives and the potential for critical discourse this may open.