CARTOON: Taiwan's Glorious Balancing Act

CARTOON: Taiwan's Glorious Balancing Act

What you need to know

Taiwan is spinning pirouettes while the rest of the region plods towards authoritarianism, according to a Freedom House report.

American nongovernmental organization Freedom House this week released its "Freedom in the World 2018" report, suggesting Taiwan has extended its position at the head of the Sinosphere when it comes to basic freedoms.

But hey, it’s not hard to take the day when the rest of the region is teetering on the brink of disaster.

Individual country profiles have not yet been released by Freedom House, but it’s not hard to see why Taiwan deserves its reputation as an unfettered land of liberty and justice. Taiwan's Supreme Court has decreed that marriage equality must eventually be enshrined in law, people show up for protests even in heavy rain and Reporters Without Borders has even moved their Asian bureau here.

Hapless Hong Kong and poor, poor Singapore have both had deepening struggles with freedom of speech and assembly in the past year, and China might as well be a lost cause. At the bottom of the East Asian pile is Tibet, listed separately from China and given the abysmal rating of one, even worse than North Korea and Turkmenistan.

For the record, Taiwan scored 93/100 in the 2018 report, which ranked countries based on ratings that encompass political rights and civil liberties.

Hong Kong's rating was 59, down from 61 the previous year, while Singapore's scored 52, up from 51 in 2017.

Just out of frame is Japan, who managed to tiptoe past Taiwan with a killer 96/100 rating.

Freedom House is primarily funded by the U.S. State Department, USAID, the governments of Canada, the EU, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, and several private U.S.-based foundations.

Editor: Morley J Weston