A new U.S. government report says that although a growing number of people in East Asia embrace democratic values, several governments there continue to tightly control civil society and to commit human rights abuses.
The report to Congress is an annual requirement of the State Department. In East Asia, it singles out Burma, China, North Korea, Laos and Vietnam as places that have not yet developed pluralistic and representative democracies.
In Burma, the report says the military government's poor human rights record worsened last year, and that serious abuses were committed.
China's government is accused in the report of continuing to suppress political, religious and social groups, as well as individuals perceived to be a threat to national stability.
The report says the United States continues to be seriously concerned about what it calls North Korea's abysmal human rights record and the ongoing humanitarian crisis faced by the North Korean people.
In Laos, the report says people lack even basic freedoms, including freedom of speech and expression.
And in Vietnam, the State Department report says the communist government restricted freedom of religion, speech, the press, assembly and association.