Bangkok Post: Taiwan: a democracy in Asia that works

It is a myth in some Thai quarters that democracy is a Western import, unfit for Asian societies like Thailand. Taiwan is a living and thriving example of being Asian, democratic and economically successful at the same time. Thailand is not prone to strongman rule and authoritarian culture just because it is Asian. It is where it is because of a lack in continuity and effort in building its democratic institutions.

Chief among the myriad strengths of Taiwanese democracy is its rule of law. Every person in Taiwan is equal under the law. This is how Taiwanese authorities and the justice system put a former president behind bars on bribery and corruption charges in the recent past. Taiwanese people’s collective faith in their equality is the most basic tenet of their democratic values and system of governance.

It is unthinkable, the Taiwanese say, that some people can be politically superior than others based on wealth and status, or educational levels and family backgrounds. This means that hapless farmers and doctorate degree holders to owners of fancy cars and the elite of all stripes are the same when it comes to owning the country and choosing a representative government.

Thailand has not been like that.

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