Democracy in Asia

July 24, 1998 • Volume 8, Issue 27
Is democracy making gains in Asia?
By Kenneth Jost

Introduction

Students protest in Jakarta, Indonesia, on May 13, 1998, after the deaths of six students in clashes with security police. (Photo Credit: Reuters)
Students protest in Jakarta, Indonesia, on May 13, 1998, after the deaths of six students in clashes with security police. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Democracy has not fared well in Asia, through history or in recent times. Today, most Asians live under communist governments, military regimes or virtual one-party states. But Asia also includes two big, long-established democracies: India and Japan. And with the fall of Indonesia's autocratic longtime president, Suharto, the world's fourth most populous country could be joining the ranks of democratic nations. But the country's new president, B.J. Habibie, faces a dire economic crisis, and some reformers doubt his commitment to political change. In addition, some Asians continue to debate whether democracy conflicts with Asian values, and U.S. policy-makers are often at odds with interest groups on how best to promote democracy in Asia.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Democracy
Oct. 20, 2017  Democracy Under Stress
Jul. 17, 2012  Myanmar's New Era
Jan. 17, 2012  Emerging Central Asia
Jun. 21, 2011  Peacebuilding
May 03, 2011  Turmoil in the Arab World
Feb. 15, 2011  Sub-Saharan Democracy
Jun. 2010  Democracy in Southeast Asia
Apr. 01, 2005  Exporting Democracy
Jan. 30, 2004  Democracy in the Arab World
Nov. 03, 2000  Democracy in Latin America
Oct. 08, 1999  Democracy in Eastern Europe
Jul. 24, 1998  Democracy in Asia
Aug. 17, 1990  Initiatives: True Democracy or Bad Lawmaking?
Feb. 02, 1990  Free Markets, Free Politics and Growth
Jun. 14, 1967  Greece: Monarchy Vs. Republicanism
Feb. 04, 1959  Revolutionary Ferment and Democratic Processes
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Democratization
Global Issues
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific