China’s incarceration of more than one million Turkic Muslims in camps, and indefinite rule by its increasingly authoritarian president are among a number of global threats to democracy, according to a new report from the independent watchdog Freedom House.
China is increasingly seeking to export its model of government to other countries, filling a gap once occupied by the United States in global affairs, the “Freedom in the World 2019” report warned.
“Democracies face threats at home and abroad,” the report found. “A crisis of confidence in open societies is sapping faith in democracy as a system.”
“Domestic attacks on key institutions — the judiciary, the media, and electoral mechanisms — are undermining the foundations of democracy,” it said.
“At the same time, a global assault on the norms of democracy, led by an increasingly assertive China, challenges their spread around the world,” the report said, awarding China just 11 points out of a possible 100 in its freedom score.
Mass detentions in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have drawn significant attention from the international community, and particularly from the U.S., where lawmakers have called for access to the camps and proposed sanctions against officials and entities in China deemed responsible for abusing the rights of ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.