The freedom index is calculated from two indexes: political rights and civil liberty. Political rights covers electoral process, multi-party system, and government accountability. Civil liberty covers freedom of expression, freedom of association and assembly, independent judiciary, and personal autonomy. Each of these aspects are broken down sub-areas and evaluated with an index score. Specifically,Political rights include
A. Electoral Process
1. Free elections of state head
2. Free elections of legislative representatives
3. Fair polling and ballots
B. Political Pluralism and Participation
1. The right to organize different political parties
2. Significant opposition power
3. Free from domination by the military, foreign powers, or religious hierarchies
4. Participation of cultural, ethnic, religious, and minority groups
C. Functioning of Government
1. Freely elected representatives determine the policies of the government
2. Free from pervasive corruption
3. Government accountability and transparency
Civil liberties include
A. Freedom of Expression and Belief
1. Free press (media)
2. Free religious expression
3. Academic freedom, free of extensive political indoctrination
4. Free private discussion
B. Associational and Organizational Rights
1. Freedom of assembly and demonstration
2. Freedom of political organization (including political parties and civic organizations)
3. Free trade unions
C. Rule of Law
1. Independent judiciary
2. Rule of law prevail in civil and criminal matters
3. Protection from police terror, unjustified imprisonment, or torture. Freedom from war and insurgencies.
4. Equality under the law
D. Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights
1. Freedom of travel, residence and employment.
2. The right to own property and establish private businesses.
3. Personal social freedoms, including gender equality, choice of marriage partners, and size of family
4. Equality of opportunity
Based on each country's score, we can plot a world map of freedom. Surprisingly, all the non-free countries are geographically linked! The same thing can be said about the free countries.
China and many of its neighbor are non-free. This continuous land stretches westward to central Asia, Middle East, and then down to Africa. China has two most glaringly non-free neighbors: North Korea and Burma.This is somewhat worrisome. On the other hand, China also has neighbors that are free: Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, and India, to name a few.
We hope this map will change color one day, when all the purple is replaced by green, when the land of China shines with free light. How soon will that day come? I believe it is not far away.