Taipei, Feb. 6 (CNA) Taiwan ranked 26th among 195 countries or territories for freedom in 2018 and was deemed "free," while China was tied for 180th and designated as "not free," according to a report issued recently by Freedom House.
In its Freedom in the World 2019 report titled "Democracy in Retreat," Freedom House said global freedom declined for the 13th consecutive year in 2018.
"The reversal has spanned a variety of countries in every region, from long-standing democracies like the United States to consolidated authoritarian regimes like China and Russia," the report said.
"The overall losses are still shallow compared with the gains of the late 20th century, but the pattern is consistent and ominous. Democracy is in retreat."
Among the 195 countries or territories surveyed, 86 were rated as "free," 59 "partly free," and 50 "not free," according to the report.
Taiwan scored a 93 out of 100 for freedom, the same as in 2017, ranking it second in Asia behind only Japan (96) and ahead of western democracies such as France (90), Italy (89) and the United States (86).
On top were Finland, Norway and Sweden, which all scored 100, followed by the Netherlands (99), Canada (99), New Zealand (98), Uruguay (98), Australia (98), Luxembourg (98), Ireland (97) and Denmark (97), the report showed.
China had among the worst rankings with a score of 11, tied for 180th with Azerbaijan and Yemen.
The report cited concerns over Communist Party leader Xi Jinping's personalization of power and potential life tenure and Beijing's efforts to force over a million ethnic Uighurs and others into brutal "reeducation" centers, "from which grisly reports of torture and custodial deaths are emerging."
It also warned of China's exporting of its model of comprehensive internet censorship and surveillance.
"As the internet takes on the role of a virtual public sphere, and as the cost of sophisticated surveillance declines, Beijing's desire and capacity to spread totalitarian models of digitally enabled social control pose a major risk to democracy worldwide," the report said.
The countries or territories with the worst freedom rating were Syria, which had a score of 0, Tibet (1), South Sudan (2), Eritrea (2), Turkmenistan (2), North Korea (3), and Western Sahara (4).