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Home The News News Taiwan retains No.1 in Asia on freedom index

Taiwan retains No.1 in Asia on freedom index

Taiwan ranked 12th among 165 jurisdictions around the world and first in Asia in this year’s Human Freedom Index with a score of 8.56, retaining its position from the previous year.

The index, compiled by the Washington-based Cato Institute and the Vancouver-based Frasier Institute, ranked 165 jurisdictions for “personal,” “economic” and “human” freedom in 2021, the most recent year for which sufficient data were available, the report said.

Taiwan scored 7.97 for economic freedom, or ranking 11th in the world — up from 24th in 2020 — and 8.98 for personal freedom, 12th and unchanged from 2020.

A graphic depicts global rankings for freedom. Taiwan ranked 12th among 165 jurisdictions and first in Asia in this year’s Human Freedom Index, which was published on Tuesday.

Photo: Screen grab from the Cato Institute’s Web site

The report defines freedom as the absence of coercive constraints.

The criteria for economic freedom include size of government, legal system and property rights, sound money — focused mainly on inflation — freedom to trade internationally and regulation.

Personal freedom criteria cover the rule of law, security and safety, movement, religion, expression and information, relationships, and association, assembly and civil society.

Human freedom “deteriorated severely in the wake of the coronavirus [COVID-19] pandemic,” the report said, pointing to “significant declines in the rule of law, freedom of movement, expression, association and assembly, and freedom to trade.”

Taiwan’s scores also declined after consistent rises from 8.31 (28th) in the first year of the index in 2000 to peaks of 8.81 in 2016, when it was 17th in the world, and 2019 (14th).

In 2020 and 2021, Taiwan’s score fell to 8.56, with its economic freedom score dipping below 8 for the first time since the middle of the 2010s and personal freedom dropping below 9 for the first time since the early 2000s.

However, only two main factors showed substantial declines in those two years in the index — freedom of movement, likely due to travel restrictions related to the pandemic, and media and expression as defined by Varieties of Democracy, a Swedish research institute.

In other categories, the scores for Taiwan were largely unchanged.

Switzerland was No. 1 for the fourth year in a row, followed by New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland, Estonia and Sweden (tied for fifth), Iceland, Luxembourg, Finland and Norway.

Japan was the second-highest in Asia at 16th, followed by South Korea (28th), Armenia (33rd) and Singapore (44th).

China was 149th and the lowest-ranked jurisdiction was Syria.

Source: Taipei Times - 2023/12/21

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