Is Democracy in Asia a Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

There have been several news reports in the past months that have stated the condition of democracy prevailing in Asia.

Cambodia witnessed an intense crackdown on political dissidents, which had been imposed by the country’s Prime Minister. Recent newspapers concluded that the democracy is likely to crumble down before the next elections take place. The anti-drug crusade of Rodrigo Duterte, President of Philippines has caused about thousands of victims to lead a spate of extra judicial killings in Philippines.

In India, the civil society has called upon the government to address the issue of civil space, which has been gradually shrinking. They are demanding that the people should be given their appropriate voice on certain opinions. On the other hand, in Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, who is the most prominent defender of human rights and democracy in the largest international community, has been receiving severe criticism from all across the world for the failure to take appropriate action on the ongoing crisis of Rohingya.

All these examples might be showing signs of a failing democracy in several regions of Asia; however, if the bigger picture is taken into consideration, you will see that the net democratic progress has increased by a huge amount in the past ten years. The gains in terms of democracy have been such that it has surpassed the rollbacks and the notion of Government by the people, of the people, for the people is gaining momentum.

The Economist Intelligence Unit compared the level of democracy throughout Asia and revealed that the average democracy score has increased from 5.05 to 5.41 from the year 2006 to the year 2016. The global democracy score however is stagnant at 5.52.

Thus, it looks like while the entire world is constant in terms of democracy, Asia seems to be progressing gradually and surpassing other regions.

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