Although Olivier Roy and others argue that current circumstances will push ascendant Islamist parties in a democratic direction, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood remains committed to the revolutionary goals that have animated it since its beginnings.
The resilience of the Chinese authoritarian regime is approaching its limits. A breakthrough moment could be triggered by several kinds of events.
Despite the considerable resilience demonstrated by the Chinese authoritarian regime, its power experiences continuous atrophy. With the weakening of the totalitarian control imposed on Chinese society, the current stability-maintenance system has been decreasing in its effectiveness.
There are two sharply contrasting and controversial perspectives on China’s near- to medium-term future: top-level reform and bottom-up revolution.
China is heading toward a tipping point, with two likely scenarios for how a political opening will come about. Most Chinese intellectuals think that only gradualism—“slow and steady,” step-by-step reform—can offer China a safe and feasible path toward liberal democracy. But they are wrong. Instead of “taking it slow,” China should shun gradualism and opt instead for a quick transition powered by early nationwide elections.
Although the Chinese Communist Party has tried to institutionalize the political system in the reform era, such efforts have been hampered by the Maoist legacy. To cope with challenges from the society, the CCP mainly relies on a highly centralized and resource-intensive weiwen system, and shows little respect for institutional differentiation and formal procedures.
Over the past decade, Chinese authorities have turned against many of the legal reforms they themselves had enacted in the late 20th century. Lawyers have come under increased pressure. Political campaigns warning against rule-of-law norms have rippled through the courts. And central authorities have massively increased funding for extralegal institutions aimed at curtailing and suppressing citizen discontent.
The response of the Chinese state (and of Chinese society at large) to the problems of the country’s periphery—Tibet, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia, as well as hundreds of counties, prefectures, and townships in Sichuan, Qinghai, Yunnan, and other areas—is piling more tension and misery upon the populations there, but it is not undermining state power.
In recent years, Chinese netizens have shown boundless creativity and ingenuity in expressing themselves despite government restrictions on online speech. Will new political discourse give birth to a new political identity? Are new forms of networked communication enhancing opportunities for social change and helping to move China toward a “threshold” for political transformation?
Political competition by itself does not curb corruption. Societies must also have a combination of values, social capital, civil society, and civic culture in order to impose effective normative constraints on corruption.
How should we define the stages of democracy and their sequencing? Although some scholars argue that the rule of law should come first, today it should be viewed as the final piece of the liberal-democratic puzzle.
- The Democracy Courage Tribute was awarded to human-rights activists in Bahrain at the 7th Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy and accepted on their behalf by Maryam al-khawaja.
- Several weeks before being shot by masked gunmen, 14-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai accepted the Pakistan Centre for Civic Education's Civic Courage Award.
- Excerpts from Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili’s televised address conceding his party's defeat in the October 1 elections; and excerpts from opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili's statement clarifying his postelection call for Saakashvili to resign.
- Excerpts from the December 2012 inaugural address of newly elected Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).