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Taiwan rated only 'open' Asian country for 5th year running

Taiwan only country in Asia rated as truly open civic space with a score of 81 out of 100

(Civicus screenshot)

(Civicus screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — For the fifth year in a row, Taiwan is the only country in Asia with an open civic space, according to a report by the human rights organization Civicus.

In its report "People Power Under Attack 2023," Civicus Monitor wrote that 30.6% of the world's population now dwells in countries with closed civic space, the highest percentage since the organization started monitoring global civic space conditions in 2018. It said 2023 saw the lowest percentage of the world's people living in open societies at only 2.1%.

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 countries and territories listed in Asia, Taiwan is again the only country rated as truly open with a score of 81 out of 100. The report said that in the Asia section of its Asia-Pacific Region, the closed category has grown from seven to eight, with Bangladesh joining Afghanistan, China, Hong Kong, Laos, Myanmar, North Korea, and Vietnam.

With the addition of Sri Lanka, eight Asian countries are rated as repressed, including Brunei, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. The five countries that remain in the obstructed category are Bhutan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, and Nepal.

Timor-Leste has joined Japan, Mongolia, and South Korea as countries in the narrowed category.

Among the 198 countries and regions listed in the 2023 report, 37 countries are classified as open, 43 countries are listed as narrowed, 40 countries are rated as obstructed, 50 countries are categorized as repressed, and 28 countries are labeled as closed.