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SPP 354

Author: Richard Rose
Description: The Internet encourages openness, the flow of information between, within and across international boundaries; impersonal rules for delivering public services in accord with bureaucratic procedures; and accountability to citizens who publicize on the WWW questions and topics that governments seek to suppress. This paper reviews the Internet's impact in 12 East Asian countries that differ in forms of government. Japan and Taiwan rank high on the rule of law and electoral accountability; Malaysia, the People's Republic of China, Vietnam and Myanmar are low on both dimensions; Singapore and Hong Kong are high on the rule of law but low on accountability; and Indonesia, Korea, Philippines and Thailand are higher on electoral accountability than the rule of law. Detailed statistics in the paper show that the countries divide differently on Internet usage. In developed East Asian countries, the impact of the Internet is likely to be technological and marginal. In developing countries with corrupt regimes, its impact is political and potentially substantial, especially for the links between Chinese living in the People's Republic and Chinese in other countries.

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