These are dark days for advocates of democracy in China. Crackdowns against freedoms of speech, assembly, and thought have intensified under President Xi Jinping, while Western governments are increasingly muted in their response. This makes it even more important to discuss openly the subject of whether and how China could democratise, and the changes necessary for minimalist democracy to emerge. This presentation will examine these issues from a comparative perspective, including the experience of democratic transitions elsewhere in Asia.
Benjamin Reilly is a Professor of political science and Dean of the Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs at Murdoch University. Benjamin is a political scientist specializing in democratization, comparative politics and political development. Benjamin has worked with the Australian government, the United Nations and other international organisations, and held visiting appointments at Harvard, Oxford, and Johns Hopkins universities. He has authored or edited 7 books and over 100 scholarly papers, and received financial support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the United States Institute of Peace, the East-West Centre, the National Endowment for Democracy and the Australian Research Council. He has current projects on Australia as a Southern Hemisphere power, on China and democracy in East Asia, and on democracy and electoral systems in Southeast Asia. He is also a member of several international research projects with the German Institute for International Affairs (GIGA) on “Institutions for Sustainable Peace - Comparing Institutional Configurations for Divided Societies”.