TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — For the third in a row, Taiwan is the only country in Asia with an open civic space, while Singapore has been downgraded, according to a report by human rights organization Civicus.
In its report "People Power Under Attack 2021," Civicus Monitor wrote that in the second year of the pandemic, authoritarian governments have used the disease as an opportunity to further entrench their power. With detentions on the rise and women's rights under threat, only 3.1% of the world's population live in an open society, the organization reckons.
In the 26 countries and territories listed in the Asia region, only Taiwan has been rated as truly open.
The report assesses civic space from the perspectives of the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly, and expression. Each country is rated as falling into one of five categories: “open,” “narrowed,” “obstructed,” “repressed,” or “closed.”
In the Asia Pacific, four countries — China, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam — were rated as closed, while 11 were listed as repressed, seven as obstructed, three as narrowed, and only Taiwan as open.
Singapore was the only country in the region to be downgraded from obstructed to repressed "owing to its decline in fundamental freedoms." The report cited legislation that enable the government to repress critics, independent media outlets, journalists, bloggers, human rights defenders, and activists as reasons for the downgrade.