Taiwan | Freedom House

Freedom in the World

Freedom in the World 2017



Freedom Status: 

Freedom in the World Scores

(1=Most Free, 7=Least Free)

Quick Facts

Press Freedom Status: 

Ratings Change:

Taiwan’s civil liberties rating improved from 2 to 1 due to demonstrations of media independence and academic freedom in recent years, including in media coverage of the 2016 elections.


Taiwan’s vibrant and competitive democratic system has allowed three peaceful transfers of power between rival parties since 2000, and protections for civil liberties are generally robust. Ongoing concerns include Chinese efforts to influence policymaking and some sectors of the economy, foreign migrant workers’ vulnerability to exploitation, and disputes over the land and housing rights of both ordinary citizens and Taiwan’s indigenous people.

Key Developments: 
  • The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won a sweeping victory in January general elections, capturing both the presidency and a majority in the Legislative Yuan.
  • A scandal over weak oversight of the state-controlled Mega Financial Holdings Company forced the head of Taiwan’s top financial regulator to step down in October.
  • Also in October, the DPP introduced draft legislation that would formally recognize same-sex marriage.
Executive Summary: 

Amid widespread dissatisfaction with a slowing economy and the incumbent Kuomintang (KMT) government’s policy of closer ties with China, voters handed the opposition DPP a resounding victory in January general elections. Tsai Ing-wen, the DPP’s chairperson, became the country’s first female president, and the party won a substantial legislative majority.

The new government subsequently made commitments to better protect the rights of marginalized and vulnerable populations, including indigenous communities, foreign migrant workers, and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people. The administration also faced concern over a perceived lack of oversight of state-controlled financial institutions and the need for a reform of housing laws to secure residency rights in the context of development projects.

Aggregate Score: 
Freedom Rating: 
Political Rights: 
Civil Liberties: 

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