East Asian democracies are in trouble, their legitimacy threatened by poor policy performance and undermined by nostalgia for the progrowth, soft-authoritarian regimes of the past. Yet citizens throughout the region value freedom, reject authoritarian alternatives, and believe in democracy.
This book is the first to report the results of a large-scale survey-research project, the East Asian Barometer, in which eight research teams conducted national-sample surveys in five new democracies (Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Mongolia), one established democracy (Japan), and two nondemocracies (China and Hong Kong) in order to assess the prospects for democratic consolidation. The findings present a definitive account of the way in which East Asians understand their governments and their roles as citizens. Contributors use their expert local knowledge to analyze responses from a set of core questions, revealing both common patterns and national characteristics in citizens' views of democracy. They explore sources of divergence and convergence in attitudes within and across nations.
The findings are sobering. Japanese citizens are disillusioned. The region's new democracies have yet to prove themselves, and citizens in authoritarian China assess their regime's democratic performance relatively favorably. The contributors to this volume contradict the claim that democratic governance is incompatible with East Asian cultures but counsel against complacency toward the fate of democracy in the region. While many forces affect democratic consolidation, popular attitudes are a crucial factor. This book shows how and why skepticism and frustration are the ruling sentiments among today's East Asians.
A fascinating study.
This rigorously designed study... will surely become a classic in the field.
A valuable but also complex book.... It is impossible, in this short review, to do justice to the richness of the data compiled and of the conclusions proposed.... Essential reading.
the contributions to this edited volume represent a nuanced and balanced rebuttal to the view that 'Asian values' are not compatible with democracy...a very useful introduction to the topic of democracy in Asia in a course on comparative politics.
...provides a superb analysis of popular support for democracy in the region, and will long serve as a highly valuable resource to both regional specialists and democracy scholars.
Stephen D. Collins
The whole forms an exemplary exercise in internationally comparative political science research on a provocative and elusive subject matter.
1. Introduction: Comparative Perspectives on Democratic Legitimacy in East Asia, by Yun-han Chu, Larry Diamond, Andrew J. Nathan, and Doh Chull Shin
2. The Mass Public and Democratic Politics in South Korea: Exploring the Subjective World of Democratization in Flux, by Doh Chull Shin and Chong-Min Park
3. Mass Public Perceptions of Democratization in the Philippines: Consolidation in Progress?, by Linda Luz Guerrero and Rollin F. Tusalem
4. How Citizens View Taiwan's New Democracy, by Yu-tzung Chang and Yun-han Chu
5. Developing Democracy Under a New Constitution in Thailand, by Robert B. Albritton and Thawilwadee Bureekul
6. The Mass Public and Democratic Politics in Mongolia, by Damba Ganbat, Rollin F. Tusalem, and David D. Yang
7. Japanese Attitudes and Values Toward Democracy, by Ken'ichi Ikeda and Masaru Kohno
8. Democratic Transition Frustrated: The Case of Hong Kong, by Wai-man Lam and Hsin-chi Kuan
9. China: Democratic Values Supporting an Authoritarian System, by Tianjian Shi
10. Conclusion: Values, Regime Performance, and Democratic Consolidation, by Yun-han Chu, Larry Diamond, and Andrew J. Nathan