Several governments in the Asia-Pacific region responded to the Arab Spring protests with a clampdown on dissent, Amnesty International said.
Leaders from China to Thailand employed a range of methods to silence critics, the group said in its annual report.
But activists were increasingly able to use new technologies to voice their opinions, it said.
The rights group also noted positive changes in countries including Burma.
Despite ''serious obstacles'', many human rights defenders and activists in Asia were still able to ''navigate their way towards greater respect for their rights'', said the 2012 report on the state of the world's human rights.
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