TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is the most democratic country in East Asia and No. 11 in the world, according to the annual Democracy Index published by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Tuesday (Feb. 2).
The Economist explained that “The pandemic caused an unprecedented rollback of democratic freedoms in 2020.” The report divided 167 countries into four categories: authoritarian regimes, hybrid regimes, flawed democracies, and full democracies.
While Taiwan was still categorized as a “flawed democracy” in 2019, transparency in political party financing, as well as political and judicial reforms, propelled the nation 20 places higher on the current list, CNA reported. Taiwan was also one of only 38 countries to improve their ranking in 2020 compared to the previous year.
The only two other “full democracies” in East Asia, Japan and South Korea, finished at No. 21 and No. 23, respectively. China was listed as an authoritarian regime at No. 151, with Laos coming in at No. 161 and North Korea at the very bottom — at No. 167.
On a global scale, Northern European countries occupied the top rankings, with Norway at No. 1, Iceland at No. 2, and Sweden at No. 3. New Zealand finished in fourth place, followed by Canada. Switzerland, often seen presented as a model state by international surveys, finished just one notch behind Taiwan in the twelfth slot.
According to the EIU, the United States is a flawed democracy at No. 25, as is France, which is one spot higher.