With the exception of Japan, the countries of East Asia, including those in Southeast Asia, did not experience democracy as a stable political system before the 1980s. 1 Many scholars believed that, while modernization would continue to foster the development of liberal democracy, East Asian societies had an idiosyncratic political culture that was inherently antidemocratic and which prevented them from becoming fully democratized (Huntington 1991: 24). This idea gave to rise to the theory of Asian exceptionalism, a theoretical explanation of why cultural tradition has prevented East Asian countries from achieving genuine democratization (Pei 1994: 92).