Skip to main content

About this book

This lively and accessible new text provides a uniquely broad-ranging introduction to the governance and politics of Pacific Asia.

Thematically structured around the key institutions and issues, it is genuinely comparative in its approach to the whole region. A range of representative countries (China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines) are used as key case examples throughout and each of them is subject to a detailed full-page country profile.

Key features include:

• 'Pacific Asia in Context' – comparisons with other parts of the world
• 'Country Profiles' – essential facts on Pacific Asian countries
• Boxed, on-page definitions for key terms
• Annotated lists of further reading for each chapter
• Study questions for each chapter
This diverse region is a fascinating area for study. Politics in Pacific Asia provides a framework to form a coherent understanding of the region's politics; it balances persistent patterns with the latest developments and general characteristics with the differing cultures, histories and institutions of individual countries.

Table of Contents


To write a textbook on politics and governments in Pacific Asia is not an easy matter. Two things in particular make this a great challenge. First, the diversity of the region is unmatched anywhere else in the world. Since the 1950s, the region has seen all the types of state and forms of government that have ever been known. On various governance indicators, Pacific Asian countries exhibit greater gaps among themselves than any other region. As students of political science, we want to see patterns and regularities so that we can explain what happened and, if we are ambitious, ponder what might happen in the future. However, the great diversity of Pacific Asian politics defies easy generalizations.
Xiaoming Huang

Chapter 2. States and the political executive

In this chapter, we shall take a close look at the organization of the state, and explain the phenomenon of state dominance (see Box 2.1). More specifically, this chapter will cover three main issues in the organization of state authority:
  • Types of state and their constitutional foundations. For some countries, there is an issue of constitutional legitimacy.
  • Structure and organization of the executive branch. The executive’s relationship with other branches of government (that is, the organization of government) will be discussed in Chapter 3.
  • Relationships between the central and local governments in a multilevel polity. We shall look in particular at why federalism is very weak in Pacific Asia, and the recent reforms across Pacific Asian countries to decentralize state authorities and functions.
Xiaoming Huang

Chapter 4. The politics of bureaucracy

Pacific Asian countries have a long tradition of sophisticated bureaucratic systems. The bureaucracy plays a significantly greater role in administering government, formulating public policy, and managing the overall political system, to the extent that some of the countries are often referred to as a bureaucratic state.
Xiaoming Huang

Chapter 7. Participation and power

Access and participation are important for members of a political community. This chapter begins with a survey of scholarly views on the structure of political society in Pacific Asian countries. Given the dominance of state institutions, the way that political society is structured and how different sectors of society participate in the political process is of particular importance.
Xiaoming Huang
Additional information