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Taiwan gains improved freedom rating in international report
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Taipei, Feb. 1 (CNA) Taiwan, one of Asia's most vibrant democracies, has scored its best rating in 11 years in an annual report by Freedom House that assesses the condition of political rights and civil liberties around the world.

Taiwan scored 1 out of 7 for both political rights and civil liberties, achieving a "freedom rating" of 1, according to the "Freedom in the World" report published this week by Freedom House, a Washington-based human rights advocacy group.

Each country's score is based on two ratings -- one for political rights and one for civil liberties -- with 1 representing the highest level of freedom and 7 the least degree of freedom. The freedom rating of a country is determined based on the average of its political rights and civil liberties.

The last time that Taiwan scored the highest freedom rating of 1 was in 2006. Since then, its freedom rating has been 1.5 each year.

Last year, Taiwan was rated 1 for political rights and 2 for civil liberties.

"Taiwan's civil liberties rating improved from 2 to 1 due to demonstrations of media independence and academic freedom in recent years, including in media coverage of the 2016 elections," according to the pro-democracy watchdog group.

On the Freedom House scale, Taiwan received an aggregate score of 91, with 0 denoting the least free and 100 the most free.

It led France (90), the United States (89) and South Korea (82).

Among those at the top of the rankings were Canada with a score of 99, Japan 96 and the UK 95.

Of the 195 countries assessed, 45 percent, including Taiwan, were rated "Free," 30 percent "Partly Free" and 25 percent "Not Free."

According to the report, 2016 marked the 11th consecutive year of decline in global freedom due to growing populism and nationalism in democratic countries and the strengthening of authoritarianism in others.

A total of 67 countries suffered a decline in political rights and civil liberties last year, while 36 saw gains, the report showed.

It mentioned the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States and Britain's vote to leave the European Union as two destabilizing events in major democracies in 2016. (Courtesy of CNA)