TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan has moved ahead of the United States on the list of free countries in the world released by non-governmental organization Freedom House.
According to the group’s rating system, Taiwan received 91 points out of 100, or two more than the U.S., giving the island nation a higher degree of freedom in its "Freedom in the World 2017" report.
In both the categories “political rights” and “civil liberties,” Taiwan received a 1, the best possible score, with 7 being the worst. For civil liberties, the figure represented an improvement from 2 the previous year, reportedly thanks to the independence of the media and to academic freedom.
As a result, the country’s average also moved in the right direction from 1.5 to 1.
For the first time in a decade, Taiwan joined the ranks of the “freest” countries in the world, Freedom House said.
Norway, Sweden and Finland received a perfect 100, while the Netherlands and Canada just fell short at 99 points. The only East Asian country performing better than Taiwan was Japan, with 96 points.
China was listed as “not free,” and with 15 points, it also earned a downward arrow, indicating a deteriorating situation, according to Freedom House.
Hong Kong received the status of “partly free” with 61 points, while South Korea was rated “free” with 82 points.
In its overview, Freedom House named “populists” and “autocrats” as a dual threat to global democracy, causing the 11th consecutive year of decline for freedoms across the world.