The Democracy Report
The Atlantic's coverage of social and political change in North Africa, in the Middle East, and around the world

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Introduction

A wave of democratization reshaped the world not so long ago. Could it happen again now?

Danger: Falling Tyrants

As dictatorships crumble across the Middle East, how do we promote American values while protecting American interests?

Arab Spring, Chinese Winter

Just after the streets of Tunisia and Egypt erupted, China saw a series of “Jasmine” protests — until the government stopped them cold. Was the regime’s defensive reaction just paranoia? Or is the Chinese public less satisfied — and more combustible — than it appears?

From The Archives

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Islam

Can democracy take root in a predominantly Islamic part of the world? How Atlantic writers thought about the question throughout the 20th century.

Islam and Liberal Democracy

A renowned scholar of Near Eastern studies, took on the question of Islam's suitability for democratic rule

Was Democracy Just a Moment?

The global triumph of democracy was to be the glorious climax of the American Century. But democracy may not be the system that will best serve the world—or even the one that will prevail in places that now consider themselves bastions of freedom.

What Kind of Democracy?

At a time when countries in Eastern Europe and elsewhere were demanding the right to self-determination, Raymond D. Gastil assessed the extent to which civil liberties within a democracy require protection within a democracy

China Emergent

In the midst of World War II, the wife of China's Nationalist leader, Chiang Kai-shek, decried the exploitation of China by the West and delineated a vision for a more democratic future

A Plea for the Recognition of the Chinese Republic

This Chinese author proudly declared "we have transformed our immense country from an empire of four thousand years' standing into a modern democracy" asking that the United States lend its support to the fledgling government through official recognition

Edwin Lee/Flickr

Chinese Democracy: Will It Ever Be More Than a Guns n' Roses Album?

Minxin Pei, Eric Li, and James Fallows debate the legitimacy and resilience of the People's Repbublic

Burma May Be Liberalizing—but It Still Needs Chinese Money Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters

Burma May Be Liberalizing—but It Still Needs Chinese Money

Despite its recent democratic transition, the Southeast Asian country is still reliant on its giant neighbor.

What Is Behind China's Big Internet Crackdown? Reuters

What Is Behind China's Big Internet Crackdown?

The recent spate of arrests is reminiscent of an earlier, darker time in Chinese history.

What This Hand Gesture Means for Egypt's Future Reuters

What This Hand Gesture Means for Egypt's Future

The four-fingered Rabaa has replaced the “V” symbol among the country’s protesters, and that could be a bad thing.

The Cop Behind China's Online Crackdown Reuters

The Cop Behind China's Online Crackdown

Once little known, Fu Zhenghua has detained or arrested several well-known Internet commentators in recent weeks. 

Why Putin Is Pushing Authoritarianism in Syria Reuters

Why Putin Is Pushing Authoritarianism in Syria

He is not only defending Assad, he's also preserving his own power. 

What Makes Censorship in China So Effective? Reuters

What Makes Censorship in China So Effective?

The government's system of monitoring the media is only part of the story.

China's War on Deep Thinking Wikipedia Commons

China's War on Deep Thinking

The father of modern Chinese literature, Lu Xun, is now considered inappropriate for students. 

The Subversive World of Chinese Bathroom Graffiti Warner Brown

The Subversive World of Chinese Bathroom Graffiti

Scrawled dispatches on toilet stall walls show a taste for commerce, humor, and sometimes dissent. 

The Bo Xilai Trial and China's 'Rule of Law': Same Old, Same Old Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

The Bo Xilai Trial and China's 'Rule of Law': Same Old, Same Old

The high-profile case is just business as usual for the Communist Party.

Is This Egypt's Intifada? Reuters

Is This Egypt's Intifada?

The crackdown could usher in the most violent radicalization of the Arab world since the Palestinian uprisings.

Where Is China's Gorbachev? Reuters

Where Is China's Gorbachev?

Why the country hasn't had -- and isn't likely to have -- a political reformer in the mold of the former Soviet leader.

Egypt's Series of Terrible Governments, in One Chart Reuters

Egypt's Series of Terrible Governments, in One Chart

Today's massacre continues a disturbing trend in the country since the fall of Mubarak.

Why Bo Xilai's Trial Is a Victory for the Rule of Law in China Jason Lee/Reuters

Why Bo Xilai's Trial Is a Victory for the Rule of Law in China

The disgraced official will be found guilty -- but his trial reflects the Communist Party's changing approach to jurisprudence.

Why Would the Muslim Brotherhood Believe in Voting Now? Max Taylor, The Atlantic

Why Would the Muslim Brotherhood Believe in Voting Now?

Morsi's ouster and his supporters' oppression is sending a message to young Islamists who previously played by democratic rules that their only real hope is through armed resistance.

The Chinese Communist Party Has Embraced the Internet—for Public Polling Marco Ugarte/AP

The Chinese Communist Party Has Embraced the Internet—for Public Polling

Beijing has started to glean political intelligence from the same systems they restrict access to.

The Struggle for Egypt's Future Plays Out in the Pages of Its Newspapers Reuters

The Struggle for Egypt's Future Plays Out in the Pages of Its Newspapers

After the military deposed Morsi, they upended everything -- even the media.

In Jordan, the Arab Spring Isn't Over Reuters

In Jordan, the Arab Spring Isn't Over

The country's leadership must realize that growing authoritarianism won't foster stability.

A Scrappy Afghan Radio Station Faces a Shaky Future After U.S. Troops Leave Matt Sienkiewicz

A Scrappy Afghan Radio Station Faces a Shaky Future After U.S. Troops Leave

It was the first broadcast station in Panjshir, but now Radio Khorasan is fading fast.

The Unsurprising, Unjust Conviction of Russia's Opposition Leader Wikimedia Commons

The Unsurprising, Unjust Conviction of Russia's Opposition Leader

Aleksei Navalny and the echoes of 1936 in modern Russia.

Young Chinese People May Just Not Be That Into Western-Style Democracy Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Young Chinese People May Just Not Be That Into Western-Style Democracy

A new study shows that the country's youth have an increasingly lukewarm attitude about democratic political systems.

How Putin Uses Money Laundering Charges to Control His Opponents Reuters/Aleksey Nikolskyi

How Putin Uses Money Laundering Charges to Control His Opponents

The Magnitsky case highlights Russia's multi-faceted corruption problem.

The Biggest Story in Photos

Scenes of Spring

Why We Tend to Show Our Left Side in Pictures
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The Atlantic Monthly

The overprotected child, the high price of stop-and-frisk, the monogamy trap, LBJ and the Civil Rights Act, Matthew Weiner previews the new season of Mad Men, and more

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