Comparative Politics

Four Chinas – Which Model for the Future?



The “four Chinas” (the People’s Republic, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore), representing different types of political regimes, provide a fascinating contrast with regard to their respective performance in the context of the renewed global conflict between liberal democracies and autocracies. This paper first examines briefly their common historical and cultural backgrounds and then turns to their specific characteristics in terms of major criteria of liberal democracy and quality, their governance scores, and socio-economic performance at the macro-level. This is supplemented by a more detailed analysis of “Asian” cultural features, recent developments and support for democracy at the micro-level. In a final part, the reactions to the dramatic COVID-19 pandemic are documented showing once more specific regime characteristics. All this is based on publicly available “Varieties of Democracy” (V-Dem), World Bank, UNDP, “World Values Surveys” (WVS) and similar data. The conclusions point to the crucial position of Taiwan in this respect.


Thumbnail image of Four Chinasdraft2new.pdf

Supplementary material

Thumbnail image of ChinasTable 2 - 5 landscape.pdf
additional tables in landscape format for paper "Four Chinas"
quality of democracy, governance, human development


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