Over the past several weeks, the Chinese authorities—urged on by President Xi Jinping—have engaged in an unprecedented crackdown on what they consider “harmful information” disseminated via popular microblogging platforms and other social media. The speed of microblogging and the sheer size of the user base have long allowed these media to serve as a rare venue for comparatively open discussion of political and social matters in China, despite heavy censorship. The new campaign threatens to close off this crucial public forum and drive citizens into greater isolation.
The reported execution by firing squad last month of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s ex-girlfriend, along with 11 others, was a sad reminder that dictators still rule by brute force with little pretense of legitimacy. Most current autocrats, however, take on the trappings of democracy to claim a popular mandate for their regime and their actions, even as they trample the rights of their citizens. It’s time to call them out. It’s time for them to go. Read Dennis Blair and Daniel Calingaert's POLITICO op-ed.
A majority of Americans see democracy in the U.S. as weak and getting weaker, according to a national survey released by The Democracy Project, a joint initiative of Freedom House, the George W. Bush Institute, and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.