Various definitions of Asian values have been put forth. Generally, the phrase refers to loyalty towards the family, corporation, and nation; the forgoing of personal freedom for the sake of society's stability and prosperity; and, a strong work ethic together with thrift.
Proponents of "Asian values" claim these values are more appropriate for the region than Western democracy with its emphasis on individual freedoms.
"Asian values" include:
Preference for social harmony
Concern with socio-economic prosperity and the collective well-being of the community
Loyalty and respect towards figures of authority
Preference for collectivism rather than individualism
Amartya Sen argues these so-called Asian values cannot operate because of the overriding cultural diversity found in Asia. Others say that Asian values is a concept that covers up for suppressing universal values such as freedom of speech and human rights.