As an analysis of recent electoral results shows, the world’s emerging democracies are weathering the global economic crisis surprisingly well. Yet they remain under an even sharper threat from their own failures to deliver good governance.
The financial crisis did not deal a fatal blow to any democracies, but it did hasten an erosion of the influence of the West. In the future, the balance of power among competing regime types may be decided by the emerging-market democracies.
Striking the right balance between freedom and security is hard, especially in Latin America. Hybrid forces combining military and police elements may be the best means for meeting security challenges without imperiling freedom.
For the first time ever in the history of Hong Kong, local democratic leaders and Chinese officials have forged a pact on limited democratic reforms. That may have marked a step forward for the cause of democracy in Hong Kong, but it has also led to a sharp split in the democratic camp.
In most Arab countries, Islamist groups are the only ones with the popular support needed to win free and fair elections. Yet Islamist parties have shown an ambivalence about and in some cases even an aversion to seeking power via the ballot box.
Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, is best known for his eloquent and incisive essays. Two of them are featured here: “Can It Be That the Chinese People Deserve Only ‘Party-Led Democracy’?” and “Changing the Regime by Changing Society.”
- Portions of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's closing statement at his fraud trial on 10 November 2010. This was the second trial for Khodorkovsky, the former head of the Yukos oil company, who was sentenced in May 2005 to nine years in prison for fraud.
- Excerpts from the "Casablanca Call for Democracy and Human Rights," signed by participants (including civil society activists, politicians, and academics) of the conference "The Future of Democracy and Human Rights in the Arab World," held in Casablanca on 22–23 October 2010.
- Portions of an October 2010 open letter written by two dozen former officials of the People's Republic of China to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress demanding an end to censorship.
- Excerpts from the 30 September 2010 United Nations resolution establishing the first-ever special rapporteur on freedom of association and assembly.