Skip to main content

Asian Values and Illiberalism?

Monday, January 20, 2020, 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

The Department of Legal Studies

cordially invites all to a public lecture by


Professor Wen-Chen Chang



Asian values and illiberalism?


20 JANUARY 2020 | 3:30 P.M. – 5:30 P.M.

Nador 15 building | Room N15/106


Abstract: In Asian values discourse, Asian societies are portraited as favoring authority over liberty, emphasizing duties over rights, and placing community above individuals. It has been argued that Asian economic success, exemplified by Singapore and most recently by China, has been substantially due to reception of these Asian values. At the same time, however, a few Asian societies including South Korea and Taiwan have been witnessing rather concurrent developments in economic prosperity and democratic constitutionalism. Still, in South Korea and Taiwan, successes in both economic development and constitutional democracy have seemed to premise upon a fairly strong state, or at least, a community-centered power structure, in which the realization of individual rights and public welfare is not necessarily understood as constraining the government or placing limits to the exercise of public power. This lecture is aimed at dissecting the ideas of state/society/individual, illuminating their respective conceptual relationships with Asian values discourse and the development of democratic constitutionalism, and ultimately, responding to the present heated debate on the rise of illiberal democracy and authoritarian constitutionalism with contextual dynamics in Asia.


Professor Wen-Chen CHANG is jointly appointed as Dean and Professor of National Chiao Tung University School of Law and as Professor of National Taiwan University College of Law. She is a leading scholar of constitutional law in Taiwan and has published major scholarly works on comparative constitutional laws including Asian Courts in Context, with Jiunn-rong Yeh (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and Constitutionalism in Asia: Cases and Materials, with Kevin YL Tan, Li-ann Thio & Jiunn-rong Yeh (Hart Publishing, 2014). Her teaching and research interests lie in comparative constitutional law, international human rights, administrative laws, and law and society. She serves in editorial boards for leading academic journals including International Journal of Constitutional Law, Cambridge Journal of Global Constitutionalism: Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, Asian Comparative Law Journal, and National Taiwan University Law Review.