Asia-Pacific | Page 171 | Freedom House

Asia-Pacific

Over the past five years, the Asia-Pacific region has been the only one to record steady gains in political rights and civil liberties as measured by Freedom House. Although it is home to China, where over half the world’s Not Free population lives, and North Korea, the least free country in the world, a number of Asia-Pacific countries have made impressive gains in the institutions of electoral democracy—elections, political parties, pluralism—and in freedom of association. Nonetheless, problems persist regarding many fundamental rights, and Freedom House supports local civil society groups throughout Southeast Asia in promoting and advocating the work of human rights defenders.You can read more about our work in the region here.


Asterisks in the country list below indicate a territory rather than a country.

Countries & Territories: 45
4 billion people
38% free
Press:
5% free

Percent computed by population. Population source data.

News & Updates

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced September 15 that the government will repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA), along with three emergency provisions, and replace them with two laws to prevent “terrorism, subversive activities and maintain public order.” The ISA and emergency declarations currently allow detention without trial for up to two years, and students, activists and opposition leaders have been arrested as a result. However, the government claims once the ISA and other acts are repealed citizens will no longer be detained strictly based on ideology. The government will also amend the Police Act to better promote freedom of assembly—although street protests would still be considered illegal— and the Printing Presses and Publications Act, to make it easier for outlets to keep their licenses by not requiring annual renewal.

In its International Religious Freedom Report issued on September 13, the U.S. State Department failed to designate Pakistan as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) despite the significant deterioration of religious freedom in the country. Iran, China Saudi Arabia, Burma, Eritrea, North Korea, Sudan and Uzbekistan were noted in the report as having governments that “engage in or tolerate ‘particularly severe violations’ of religious freedom, where the abuses are “egregious, ongoing, and systematic.” In a May 2011 letter, Freedom House joined other human rights groups in calling on the State Department to designate Pakistan a CPC given the pervasive violence against religious minorities and the impunity that is enjoyed by militant groups. The State Department’s decision to leave Pakistan off the list sends the wrong signal to those that espouse religious intolerance and undermines the message that the Pakistani authorities are obligated to protect their citizens and uphold the rule of law.

On September 13, Indonesian radio station Radio Era Baru was shut down by police and had equipment confiscated. The raid is widely thought to be because of the station’s Falun Gong ties and outspoken views against China for its human rights abuses. On September 6, station manager Gatot Machali was sentenced to six months in jail and a nearly $6,000 fine for broadcasting without a license. Machali had ignored repeated requests from the government to halt broadcasts. Radio Era Baru is linked to the Falun Gong religious movement, and as a result, Machali claims the Chinese government has pressured Indonesian authorities to stop broadcasts. Authorities have on numerous occasions –in 2007 and 2008—imposed restrictions on the station, refused to grant it a license, and in March 2010 shut the station down.

Pages

Experts

Senior Research Analyst for China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan

Sarah Cook is a Senior Research Analyst for China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan at Freedom House.

Issues: 
Regions: 
Senior Program Manager, Asia

Lauren Galacia manages the Asia program.  Prior to joining Freedom House, she oversaw the development and implementation of citizen engagement programs throughout Asia and Eurasia, with a focus on Thailand and Burma.

Issues: 
Regions: 
Research Analyst, Freedom on the Net

Allie Funk serves as a Research Analyst on the Freedom on the Net team.

33 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
22 million people
Internet:
Free
Press:
Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
1.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
21
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
153 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
54
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
708 thousand people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
3.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
413 thousand people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
55 million people
Internet:
Not Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
5.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
63
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
15 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
52
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
1.4 billion people
Internet:
Not Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
87
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
23 million people
Press:
Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
1.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
844 thousand people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
3.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
1.3 billion people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
2.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
41
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
241 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
3.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
47
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
128 million people
Internet:
Free
Press:
Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
1.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
23
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
25 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
7.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
49 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
2.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
35
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
6.5 million people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
29 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
44
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
331 thousand people
Press:
Not Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
5.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
2.9 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
1.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
31 million people
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
3.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
4.4 million people
Press:
Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
1.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
180 million people
Internet:
Not Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
4.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
71
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
7 million people
Press:
Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
3.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
96 million people
Internet:
Free
Press:
Partly Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
3.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
28
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
552 thousand people
Press:
Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
2.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
21 million people
Internet:
Partly Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Partly Free
Scores Overview
3.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
43
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
70 million people
Internet:
Not Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
5.5 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
67
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
258 thousand people
Press:
Free
Status
Free
Scores Overview
2.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
89 million people
Internet:
Not Free
Press:
Not Free
Status
Not Free
Scores Overview
6.0 / 7 (least free)
Freedom Rating
76
(0 = Best, 100 = Worst) / 100 (least free)
Internet Freedom
Scores Overview

Programs

In Southeast Asia, Freedom House programs enable citizens to assert their rights and supports their efforts to gain a greater say in how they are governed.

Issues: 
Regions: 

Freedom House helps LGBTI rights groups in Southeast Asia to push back against the tide of intolerance.

Regions: 

The Lifeline Embattled CSO Assistance Fund provides emergency financial assistance to civil society organizations (CSOs) under threat or attack and advocacy support responding to broader threats to civil society. 

Freedom House administers several funds which offer emergency assistance to organizations and individuals around the world who are under threat because of their human rights work.