Wed, Dec 22, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Nation's freedom score up

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan's civil liberties score improved one notch this year, according to the latest annual report from Freedom House. The nation continues to be rated a "free," while China remains a "not free" country.

The annual report gave Taiwan's civil liberties the highest possible score of 1, up one place from the previous year's figure, and a political rights rating at 2, the same as that last year. The ratings of China's civil liberties and political rights remained at 6 and 7, respectively. On a scale from one to seven, one represents the most free and seven the least free. The ratings reflect global events from Jan. 1 to Nov. 31 this year.

In the Asia-Pacific region, 17 countries are rated "free," 11 "partly free" and 11 "not free." Freedom House has been publishing the annual comparative assessment of the state of political rights and civil liberties in 192 countries and 17 related and disputed territories since 1978.

Of the world's 192 states, 119 are electoral democracies, with 89 "free" and 30 "partly free" this year. Overall, freedom progressed worldwide in the past year, with 26 countries registering gains against 11 showing setbacks. Russia was the only country to register a negative category change, moving from "partly free" to "not free."

Commenting on the nation's improved rating this year, Director-General of the Government Information Office (GIO) Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said that it reflected the government's efforts in safeguarding human rights and consolidating democracy.

"By contrast, China's disgraceful ratings emphasized the absurdity of Chinese government's promoting the `one country, two systems' model," he said.

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