• Directory of Taiwan

China among 'worst of the worst' as global freedom declines: report

Taipei, Jan. 28 (CNA) China maintained its spot near the bottom of this year's Freedom in the World index, ranking among the "worst of the worst" offenders in terms of both civil and political rights as freedom rankings declined worldwide. The annual report by U.S.-based human rights watchdog Freedom House cited centralization of authority in China, handing it a score of 7 out of 7 for its citizens' political rights, indicating "few or no political rights because of severe government oppression," and 6 out of 7 for civil liberties, indicating strong limits on expression and association and the frequent detention of political prisoners. Lower numbers indicate a higher level of freedom based on the organization's methodology. The report, published online Wednesday, cited hardline policies by Chinese President Xi Jinping (???), who it called the most powerful Communist Party leader in a decade and a half. Freedom House noted targeted actions taken by the Chinese government against civil organizations, academics and sanctioned churches as well as increased Internet censorship and suppression of the Uyghur minority. China was scored particularly poorly for its electoral process, discretionary political rights (i.e., treatment of minorities), and rule of law. China's overall score of 6.5 puts it on par with the Gaza Strip and Cuba. Hong Kong, meanwhile, was marked 2 for civil liberties and 5 for political rights, earning an overall 3.5 and a "partly free" status. The report noted China's growing influence over the special administrative region despite major public resistance, while attacks on journalists, corporations withdrawing advertising from certain "critical media outlets," and self-censorship drove freedom of the press to decline sharply. However, the semi-autonomous territory earned high marks for rule of law. Taiwan in contrast earned an overall score of 1.5 -- a score of 2 for civil liberties and 1 for political rights. No in-depth report was issued for Taiwan, but the scores were unchanged from the 2014 report, when the island received high marks in electoral process and pluralism. Last year, concerns were voiced over new cases of corruption in Taiwan's government, bias in the media and judicial independence. Taiwan's score put it on par with Croatia and Israel. Freedom House said that worldwide freedom declined over the past year for the ninth year running. Its scores showed that 61 countries exhibited erosions of freedom while just 33 saw improvements. Of 195 countries and territories assessed, 89 were labeled "free," 55 labeled "partly free," and 51 "not free." "Until recently, most authoritarian regimes claimed to respect international agreements and paid lip service to the norms of competitive elections and human rights," said Arch Puddington, Freedom House's vice president for research, in a press release. "Today they argue for the superiority of what amounts to one-party rule, and seek to throw off the constraints of fundamental diplomatic principles." (By Wesley Holzer)

Updated : 2021-09-17 11:22 GMT+08:00