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Democracy seen threatened by new authoritarianism

Posted by Author on June 4, 2009

Reuters, June 4, 2009-

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China, Iran, Russia and Venezuela form a clique of authoritarian states that use their wealth and influence to undermine global democracy and rule of law, a study by U.S.-funded agencies said on Thursday.

The report, released on the 20th anniversary of China’s suppression of the Tiananmen democracy movement, says these states’ challenge to Western democratic institutions represents a far “murkier picture” than the Cold War because they are integrated into the global economy and world bodies.

“Policymakers do not appear to appreciate the dangers these 21st century authoritarian models pose to democracy and rule of law around the world,” said the study by Freedom House, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Radio Free Asia, all prominent U.S. democracy-promotion bodies.

“Just as they rule without law within their borders, authoritarian regimes are eroding the international rules and standards built up by the democratic world over the past several decades, threatening to export the instability and abuses that their systems engender,” it said.

The study said manufacturing and trading power China and petro-states Iran, Russia and Venezuela shared strong similarities despite their distinct political systems and backgrounds.

Authoritarian capitalist China and Russia have built systems that twin “impressive economic development with an equally impressive apparatus of political control,” it said.

CURBS ON OPPOSITION, MEDIA

Shiite Muslim clergy-ruled Iran and Venezuela, run by “a novel type of Latin American” strongman, held managed elections amid curbs on the opposition and on media, it said…… ( More from Reuters)

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