East Asian democracies are threatened by poor policy performance and undermined by nostalgia for the progrowth, soft-authoritarian regimes of the past. Yet citizens throughout the region value freedom, reject authoritarian alternatives, and believe in democracy. This book is the first to report the results of a large-scale survey-research project, the East Asian Barometer, in which eight research teams conducted national-sample surveys in five new democracies (Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Mongolia), one established democracy (Japan), and two nondemocracies (China and Hong Kong). The findings present a definitive account of the way in which East Asians understand their governments and their role as citizens. Contributors analyze responses from a set of core questions, revealing both common patterns and national characteristics in individual views. They contradict the claim that democratic governance is incompatible with East Asian cultures but counsel against complacency. While many forces affect democratic consolidation, popular attitudes are a crucial factor. This book shows how and why skepticism and frustration are the ruling sentiments among today's East Asians.
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Columbia University Press
October 05, 2008
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