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Asia’s Five Favorite Authoritarians of 2018

Kelvene Requiroso

Posted on December 31, 2018 01:28

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What binds Asia’s authoritarians is their disdain for human rights and free speech. They also share certain eccentric behavior that defies the norms of sanity, their penchant to violence. Here are five of my favorite Asian authoritarians.

Let’s start with a working definition of an authoritarian. Authoritarian leaders reduce legal and political institutions into something personal. Everything must be about them. They surround themselves with those who agree to everything they say. And demand absolute loyalty. Such loyalty is often ridiculous because they must defend even the stupidest action or decision. Doing otherwise might have tragic consequences.

Here are five of my favorite Asian authoritarians in no specific order:

Kim Jong-un  

Inheriting his power from his father, Kim Jong-un is not averse to bloodlust. He reportedly ordered the execution of his uncle. The notion of human rights is stranger to this man. His people fear and love him. And he showed some swagger during his Singapore summit with America’s real Donald Trump. Between the two eccentric individuals, Kim pales Trump in comparison. The North Korean let his guards run with him in the limo. We're not talking about the missile tests yet.

 

Rodrigo Duterte

As most modern authoritarians do, Duterte rose to power through a democratic process. He made his way through the Philippines’ national spotlight in a unique way. That is, through his unbridled mouth and sheer braggadocio. An anti-drug crusader who admitted to the use of fentanyl and marijuana, his drug war took over 20,000 lives. He attacks the Catholic Church and mocks their faith. To many, he has become a joke and a national disgrace. But Filipinos have to wait until his fall, or for the next election cycle if that is possible at all.   

 

Xi Jinping

China’s Xi Jinping poses an image of a stable genius. He institutionalized his thoughts, making a compulsory curriculum to students in state universities. His fear of criticism leads him to have free rein on free speech. He’s able to extend his rule and managed to force his party to make him China’s leader without term limits. His re-education camps and continuous suppression of religion are hallmarks of his rule. He banished Winnie the Pooh for the fear that the beloved character will inspire and stage a revolt in China.

 

Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov

Turkmenistan’s Berdymukhammedov showed some sophistication in giving a puppy to a fellow authoritarian in Russia’s Vladimir Putin. That was last year. This year, he bans pigs out of his people’s 2019 New Year’s Eve’s celebrations. The Turkmens must refrain from using pig symbols in their home decorations to welcome the new year. That’s a display of absolute power. Also, in March, he appointed his son Serdar Deputy Foreign Minister.   

 

Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the appearance and the swagger of an authoritarian. His penchant for fame and media exposure is well-known. He’s one of Asia’s emerging authoritarians who incite violence and blame it on his critics. In August, several human rights activists were rounded up. Modi rose to power in 2014 through his populist message claiming he’s a man of action. He has stoked the anti-elite sentiment, making him appealing to the masses.

Kelvene Requiroso

Posted on December 31, 2018 01:28

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Source: Asia Times

The post UN must declare Cambodia’s authoritarianism Illegal appeared first on Asia Times .

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