The Program for East Asia Democratic Studies traces its history back more than thirty years to a research team first established by Fu Hu (Hu Fu), a renowned Professor of Political Science at National Taiwan University and Academician of Academia Sinica. This research team previously led a cross-national research project on “Political Culture and Political Participation in the Different Chinese Cultural Areas: A Comparative Study of Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong,” becoming the first political scientists to carry out a national randomized survey in mainland China. In 1994, Professor Fu Hu was invited along with Professor Yun-han Chu to represent Taiwan in the largest ever Comparative Study of Electoral Systems cross-national research project. In 2000, the East Asia Barometer was established with the support of the Ministry of Education’s Program for Promoting Academic Excellence in Universities. In 2006, the Program for East Asia Democratic Studies was established under the framework of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences at National Taiwan University. Subsequently, the Center for East Asia Democratic Studies was established in 2012 under the College of Social Sciences at National Taiwan University. Over the years, the research team has gathered rich empirical data and produced research with important theoretical implications, playing a leading role in research on East Asian democratization, as well as establishing long-term collaborative relationships with leading international research teams, promoting innovation in democracy research at a global level. On December 1, 2018, the Center for East Asia Democratic Studies was officially renamed as the Hu Fu Center for East Asia Democratic Studies in memory of its late co-founder, Professor Hu Fu.
The Hu Fu Center for East Asia Democratic Studies is major undertaking in international political science research. The Center is the first cross-national survey focused on democratization in East Asia, and is also the first cross-national survey led by East Asian scholars. As well as producing English language books and articles in leading journals, the Program will continue to provide valuable empirical data for social science researchers. The Center will also enable social scientists in Taiwan to gain valuable experience leading international cooperation, and provide the basis for regular and institutionalized cross-national surveys on political and social change in East Asia.