China’s influence means authoritarianism is spreading in Asia, Human Rights Watch warns

Ms. Pearson takes on the role at a time when tensions are high in Asia and authoritarianism is spreading across the region and overflowing from China. October will also be a defining moment when Chinese President Xi Jinping is re-elected to an unprecedented third term at a Communist Party Congress.

“Based on the past decade which has been a disaster for human rights, we are concerned about what that means for human rights not only in China but also beyond,” she told the Telegraph in an interview.

“We are concerned about the rising authoritarianism and weakening of democracies across the region,” she said, noting India, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar.

“A number of democratic countries that have elections have weakened various democratic structures, political parties they don’t like or opposition candidates winning elections, or weakened the structures that curtail power.”

The West should not blink a wink

Once hailed as a democratizing region, Southeast Asia’s rights and freedoms have declined in recent years.

In Myanmar, a junta that seized power in a coup in February 2021, who overturned a democratic election result, has continued to brutally suppress any opposition to his rule. Activists have been executed and tortured, and thousands more imprisoned – including Aung San Suu Kyi and Vicky Bowman, Former British Ambassador.

Since 2016, the Philippines has also been teetering under a cruel war on drugs, where authorities have acted with impunity and former President Rodrigo Duterte oversaw a crackdown on the media and civil society. His successor, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. came to power this year amid accusations, his campaign has whitewashed the history of his late dictator father.


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