I am saddened by those who apologize for regimes that repress their people by dismissing “western democracy” as inapplicable to other cultures. This year it is defenders of the lack of democracy in the People’s Republic of China who are telling me that I am imposing “western concepts” and ignoring alternative forms of democracy. In response, I make clear that by democracy I mean two basic precepts: (i) peoples’ right to vote privately to choose those who govern them and (ii) freedom of expression. I reject the notion that these are rigid, culture-bound or “western”. Indeed, several Asian nations embody these precepts – Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and India, for example.
Frank in DavosIn Human rights on January 29, 2005 at 7:06 am