'Chinese authoritarianism' a model for Asia. Not for Taiwan

The Civicus Monitor annual report shows that 95% of the population of Asia lives in a country where civic spaces are closed, repressed or blocked. The most used tools: censorship and the use of restrictive laws to strike democratic and political rights. The lie about "Confucian" nations that are "unfit for democracy".

Taipei (AsiaNews / Rfa) - "Chinese authoritarianism" is becoming a model for many Asian governments, reads the annual report of human rights group Civicus and the Asia Forum, published last December 4th.

" Our research shows that there continues to be a regression of civic space for activism across the region," Civicus researcher Josef Benedict said.

The document states that "In this region, out of 25 countries, four are rated as closed, eight repressed and ten obstructed. Civic space in South Korea and Japan is rated as narrowed, while Taiwan is the only country rated open."

Benedict notes that " adding The percentage of people living in Asian countries with closed, repressed or obstructed civic space is now at 95 percent ".

The most common violation of civic space is censorship, and China is the place where it is highest, much to "block critical expressions and social media".

The second most common violation in Asia is the use of restrictive laws to target democratic and political rights. The report cites evidence in at least 18 countries.

For Benedict "Asian governments are increasingly adopting China's authoritarian tactics to maintain power or control information."

The Civicus Monitor states that Taiwan and its democracy are the only truly open Asian society. Ford Liao, president of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, says that the vibrant democracy on the island and its pluralistic society shows the falsity of a saying - often used by Chinese rulers - that Chinese and other East Asian societies are "Confucian" in nature and therefore unsuitable for democracy.

" Our culture is eastern - says Liao - but at the same time we still enjoy democracy and human rights," Liao said. "I always feel that this idea about Asian countries is just an excuse made by those in power, who simply don't want to pursue democracy and human rights".

The Civicus annual report was published about a month after the presidential election in Taiwan. Current president Tsai Ing-wen has accused Xi Jinping's China (see photo) of failing to implement the "one country, two systems" principle for Hong Kong. Xi, who changed the constitution to be president for life, had proposed the same principle for a reunification with Taiwan.