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Taiwan is the only country in Asia with open civic space according to the People Power Under Attack report released Dec. 4 in Bangkok, spotlighting the nation’s status as a regional beacon of freedom and democracy.
Published by South Africa-headquartered nongovernmental organization CIVICUS, the report divides countries and territories into five groups—from best to worst: open, narrowed, obstructed, repressed and closed—based on a definition of civic space as having the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression.
Of the 25 countries and territories in Asia listed in the report, Taiwan was the only one rated as open, followed by South Korea and Japan, narrowed; Bhutan, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste, obstructed; Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Myanmar, Pakistan and Thailand, repressed; and China, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam, closed.
“In Taiwan, there was a major victory for the island’s LGBTQI community when, following extensive civil society advocacy, parliament legalized same-sex marriage in a landmark vote,” the report said.
Responding to the news, Premier Su Tseng-chang said Taiwan’s vibrant civil society, prosperous economy and generous social welfare justify its standing in the report, adding that the country will continue playing an indispensable role in promoting freedom around the world.
Founded in 1993, CIVICUS is a global alliance of civil society organizations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world. Its CIVICUS Monitor tool provides real-time updates on civic freedoms in 196 countries and territories. (RAY-E)
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