January 2013

Volume 24, Issue 1

Free

Arab Democracy or Islamist Revolution?

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.

China at the Tipping Point?

China at the Tipping Point? Goodbye to Gradualism

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…

China at the Tipping Point? The Rising Cost of Stability

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.

China at the Tipping Point? The Turn Against Legal Reform

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…

China at the Tipping Point? The Troubled Periphery

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.

China at the Tipping Point? From “Fart People” to Citizens

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?

Southeast Asia: In The Shadow of China

Given Southeast Asia’s relatively high level of socioeconomic development, we might expect it to be a showcase of democracy. Yet it is not. To grasp why, one must look to deeper factors of history and geography.

Election Watch

Reports on recent elections in Belarus, Burkina Faso, Georgia, Ghana, Kuwait, Lithuania, Montenegro, Romania, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Ukraine, Vanuatu, and Venezuela.

Documents on Democracy

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…