China and East Asian Democracy: The Coming Wave

Issue Date January 2012
Volume 23
Issue 1
Page Numbers 5-13
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With the eruption of mass movements for democratic change throughout the Arab world in 2011, hopeful analysts of global democratic prospects have focused attention on the Middle East. But if a new regional wave of transitions to democracy unfolds in the next five to ten years, it is more likely to come from East Asia: Thailand is progressing back toward democracy; Malaysia and Singapore show signs of entering a period of democratic transition; Burma, to the surprise of many, is liberalizing politically for the first time in twenty years; and China faces a looming crisis of authoritarianism that will generate a new opportunity for democratic transition in the next two decades and possibly much sooner.

About the Author

Larry Diamond is senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Mosbacher Senior Fellow in Global Democracy at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. The January 2022 issue is his last after 32 years as coeditor of the Journal of Democracy.

View all work by Larry Diamond