There was an interesting new post at Democracy Digest on Chinese influence on authoritarianism in East Asia.
Over the past decade, democracy has regressed in much of Asia, though there are notable exceptions including Malaysia and Taiwan. Southeast Asia has witnessed a reversal in Thailand, weakening institutions and norms in Bangladesh, India, and the Philippines, backsliding in Cambodia and even to some extent Indonesia, and sustained authoritarian rule in Laos and Vietnam, among other examples, notes Council on Foreign Relations analyst Joshua Kurlantzick.
More disturbingly, China could clearly challenge the notion that modernism must necessarily, eventually, lead to political liberalization, according to a concise but well-argued new book, China could indeed further modernize without democratizing, Mark Thompson, Director of the Southeast Asia Research Center at the City University of Hong Kong, argues in Authoritarian Modernism in East Asia.
Since 2015 the Cambodian government, led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, has increasingly restricted political and social activism, civil society, independent media, and foreign-funded democracy programs. During 2015-2017, more than 25 opposition members and government critics were arrested, and many fled the country. On July 10, 2016, government critic Kem Ley was killed under suspicious circumstances, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission adds:
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