According to the 2022 Human Freedom Index (HFI), Taiwan is the freest country in Asia, ranking 14th out of 165 jurisdictions worldwide. The index, jointly published by the Cato Institute and Fraser Institute, ranked countries and territories based on 83 criteria spread across 12 categories, including rule of law, security and safety, movement, religion, association, assembly and civil society, expression and information, relationships, size of government, legal system and property rights, sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation. In this article, we will explore the reasons why Taiwan is considered the freest country in Asia.
Taiwan scored 9.9 on a scale of 1-10 for religious freedom, the highest in the world. The nation’s government and society are known for their tolerance and acceptance of different religions and belief systems. Taiwan’s Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, and the government does not discriminate against any religious group. As a result, Taiwan has a diverse religious landscape, with Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, and other religions coexisting peacefully.
Security and Safety
Taiwan scored 9.5 for security and safety, ranking it among the top countries in the world. Taiwan is known for being a safe country, with low levels of violent crime and terrorism. The nation’s government invests heavily in security measures to ensure the safety of its citizens and visitors. Taiwan is also located in a region prone to natural disasters, but the government has taken steps to prepare for and respond to emergencies.
Taiwan scored 9.4 for relationships, indicating that the country is highly accepting of different types of relationships. Taiwan was the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, in May 2019. This move was widely celebrated by the LGBTQ+ community and its supporters worldwide. In addition, Taiwan has a reputation for being a friendly and welcoming country, with people from different backgrounds and cultures coexisting harmoniously.
Association, Assembly, and Civil Society
Taiwan scored 9.4 for association, assembly, and civil society, indicating that the country values the importance of civic engagement and civil society. Taiwan has a vibrant civil society, with many active NGOs and advocacy groups. The government respects and supports the work of these organizations, allowing them to operate freely and without fear of persecution.
Areas for Improvement
While Taiwan is the freest country in Asia, there are still areas for improvement. The HFI found that Taiwan needs to make improvements in the category of the size of government, where the nation scored 5.2 points for government consumption, 7 points for top marginal tax rate, and 7.5 points for state ownership of assets. The nation also performed poorly in the freedom to trade internationally category, scoring 6.3 due to trade barriers and black-market exchange rates. In addition, Taiwan faced challenges in the legal system and property rights, with a score of 6.3 in the enforcement of legal contracts, 6.4 in shortage of impartial courts, and 6.5 in insufficient judicial independence.
Taiwan’s ranking as the freest country in Asia is a testament to the nation’s commitment to human rights and individual freedom. Taiwan’s government and society have created an environment that values diversity, tolerance, and civic engagement. While there are areas for improvement, Taiwan is setting an example for other countries in the region to follow.