Chou, M., Pan, C. & Poole, A. (2017). The threat of autocracy diffusion in consolidated democracies? The case of China, Singapore and Australia. Contemporary Politics,23(2), 175-194. United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/13569775.2016.1187468
The majority of today’s authoritarian regimes have little hope of promoting autocracy beyond their own borders, let alone to consolidated democratic countries. However, China and Singapore are two prominent examples of non-democratic countries whose soft power arsenals have given them some global appeal beyond that enjoyed by most authoritarian regimes. But to what extent has China’s and Singapore’s power of example influenced consolidated democracies in terms that the latter wanting to replicate some political practices or even norms in these non-democratic regimes? In this article, we engage recent works to examine this question in relation to how Australians perceive the political example offered by China and Singapore. Focusing our analysis on several prominent polls conducted recently by the Lowy Institute for International Policy, we suggest that at present there is little evidence of a causal impact of the rise of authoritarian powerhouses such as China and Singapore on how Australians view democracy at home. Through these case studies, this article sheds some light on the theoretical as well as practical questions about the inherent impediments of authoritarian diffusion in consolidated democracies.
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