4/23/2019: Shared Values in U.S.-Taiwan Relations: Strengthening Democracy Through Open Governance

Tuesday, April 23, 2019
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Lindner Commons, 6th floor
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Washington, District Of Columbia 20052

About the Event:

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the Institute for International Economic Policy cordially invite you to “Shared Values in U.S.-Taiwan Relations.”

Open. Collective. Experimental. Sustainable. Taiwan’s first Digital Minister Audrey Tang will address what happens when people who grew up on the internet get their hands on the building blocks of government. As a self-described “conservative anarchist” and a so-called “white-hat hacker,” Minister Tang will show how she works with her team to channel greater combinations of intelligence into policy-making decisions and the delivery of public services. Minister Tang will also discuss “tech for good” and how Taiwan is “SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) indexing everything.

Agenda:

12:00 – 12:05: Welcome remarks and introduction by Sigur Center for Asian Studies Director Benjamin Hopkins
12:05 – 12:25: Keynote Address by Minister Audrey Tang
12:25 – 12:45: Discussant commentary from Prof. Susan Aaronson and Prof. Scott White (both with GW)
12:45 – 1:15: Moderated Q&A with the audience – Dr. Deepa Ollapally
1:15 – 1:45: Conclusion and lunch

 

 

Audrey Tang (唐鳳) is the Digital Minister of Taiwan. Minister Tang is known for revitalizing the computer languages Perl and Haskell, as well as building the online spreadsheet system EtherCalc in collaboration with Dan Bricklin. In the public sector, Minister Tang serves on the Taiwan National Development Council’s open data committee and K-12 curriculum committee; and led Taiwan’s first e-Rulemaking project. Minister Tang joined the cabinet as the Digital Minister on October 1st, 2016. In the private sector, Minister Tang works as a consultant with Apple on computational linguistics, with Oxford University Press on crowd lexicography, and with Socialtext on social interaction design. In the third sector, Minister Tang actively contributes to Taiwan’s g0v (“gov-zero”), a vibrant community focusing on creating tools for the civil society, with the call to “fork the government”. 

Dr. Scott J. White is an Associate Professor and Director of the Cybersecurity Program and Cyber Academy, George Washington University. He holds a Queen’s Commission and was an Officer with the Canadian Forces Intelligence Command. In addition, following his doctoral studies, Dr. White was an Officer with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. In 2010, Dr. White joined MONAD Security Audit Systems as an Associate Consultant. Dr. White has consulted with a variety of law enforcement agencies in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Bristol (Bristol, England).

Susan Ariel Aaronson is a Research Professor of International Affairs and GWU Cross-Disciplinary Fellow at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. She is also a Senior Fellow at the think tank Center for International Governance Innovation (GIGI) in Canada. Aaronson’s research examines the relationship between economic change and human rights. She is currently directing projects on digital trade and protectionism, and she also works on AI and trade and a new human rights approach to data. She holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. 

Dr. Deepa M. Ollapally is the Associate Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and Director of the Rising Powers Initiative. As Research Professor of International Affairs at George Washington University, Dr. Ollapally is directing a major research project on power and identity and the worldviews of rising and aspiring powers in the Indo-Pacific. Her research focuses on domestic foreign policy debates in India and its implications for regional security and global leadership of the U.S. She holds a PhD from Columbia University.

 

Transcript

Benjamin Hopkins, Director, Sigur Center:
All right, well I see it’s 10 after 12:00, so why don’t we go ahead and get started. It is my great privilege to welcome everyone to today’s event, which, fortunately, we are able to host Minister Tang from Taiwan who has joined us today. I should note today’s event is being not only held in-person, but it is also being live-streamed and actually what you see up here is the Minister has very kindly set up, as part of the live-streaming, the opportunity to ask questions, submit questions online. So either please scan the barcode, or go to Sli.do, and have your questions coming in during the presentation, and at the end when we open up to Q&A, we’ll take some of those questions from online. My name is professor Ben Hopkins. I’m the director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies. We are the university center for Asian Studies, and we have a long lasting and close relationship with TECRO, and a great interest in Taiwan, so it’s a great privilege today to welcome you all to one of our annual Taiwan events. That’s really all I have to say except to introduce Deepa Ollapally [Associate Director], who is today’s moderator and will introduce the Minister herself. So, Deepa.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Good morning everyone, or good afternoon. I’m really honored to be able to do the introduction for Minister Audrey Tang. When I was looking at her bio, there’s so many things that one could talk about. The first word that came to my mind was, “wow,” so here’s somebody who has that wow factor, if I may. Minister Tang is the first Digital Minister of Taiwan, and I would say one of Asia’s most innovative and exciting thought leaders and activists on governance and the use of digital space for that. Minister Tang serves on the Taiwan National Development Council’s Open Data Committee, the K-12 Curriculum Committee, and she also led Taiwan’s first e- Rulemaking project. Minister Tang works on a variety of consulting with Apple, works with Oxford University Press on crowd lexicography, and with social text on social interaction design. Also, actively still contributes to gov-

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Zero.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
“g0v-zero,” a vibrant community with the call to “fork” the government, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t mispronounce that word. Careful to say that. Let me just say a few things up about Minister Tang that I found particularly interesting. Minister Tang started her work with computers at a very early age. I think the first thing that she did was create a educational game for the Minister’s younger brother. Also showed, I think, a lot of personal courage because at 15, she left school, with the blessings of the head teachers, and went on to start a company out of many companies along the way, and at the ripe old age of 33, I think, decided to retire from the private sector and focus on the public sector. And so, I really wanted to – what I think the Minister has called “deliberative democracy,” to start that kind of a movement on that. And finally when, in 2016, when the Minister was asked to be the first Digital Minister and joined the government, apparently she was asked to write a job description, and I happened to read the job description online.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
It was a poem, which was I think very innovative, very inspirational, and very intelligent, and kind of irreverent and fun, and I had a feeling that those words probably describe the Minister herself personally and professionally. With that, I would invite you to come up, and just one small thing. I just also wanted to mention that I haven’t – If you look around the room, there are some very interesting photographs that TECRO has kindly brought with them. These are in the back, on these easels in the back, and some of them have photos of the Minister as well, engaging in dialogue between US and Taiwan on things that some of you may know about, the GCTF [Global Cooperation and Training Framework] and so forth, which has been in the forefront of fighting fake news, which certainly in Washington it would be very welcome. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Thank you so much. All right, really a pleasure to be here to share with you some stories and I see that people online have, even in this room, have already started asking questions, and so may I remind people to like each other’s questions. The questions with the most number of likes flow to the top, and top questions get answered faster like this one. So what does “fork the government” even mean? So in computer programming, “fork” means taking something that’s going to a direction, and change its governance model by splitting the governance committee and developing it in the other way, but it doesn’t actually destroy the original work, it actually creates a copy. So you’ll hear it in Bitcoin, blockchain governance in other ways that basically says take something and run to a different direction with the hope to merge in the future. And so the G0v community does that professionally. G0v is a domain name that is literally G-0-V dot T-W [g0v.tw], And for each of the government services that a G0v activist doesn’t like, or think the government should do but haven’t been doing, that G0v activist does a shadow government website. For example, the legislative is L-Y dot G-O-V dot T-W [ly.gov.tw]. Predictably the shadow legislative in G0v is L-Y dot G-0-V dot T-W [ly.g0v.tw]. So it solves the discover problem. You don’t have to Google search for anything. You just take a existing government website, change a O to a zero, and get to the shadow government, and the government that’s built by the G0v always relinquish copyright, so by the next procurement cycle, the government can just merge it back right in. And I’ll show a few examples of the G0v project that became national websites and national services, so it’s a way to gently push the government by creating essentially a standby version that is the “fork” of the service with the intention to be merged back. So keep the questions coming because we’re right now at zero questions. I’ll resume my ordinarily programmed slides, which is my talk.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
All right, today I would like to talk about the shared values in the US-Taiwan relations, and strengthening democracy through open governance. Now just to begin things, when we talk about crowdsourcing, or crowd collective intelligence, and things like that, usually what we say is that it’s a consultation about a specific domestic matter. Very rarely do we share the real agenda-setting power of what exactly are we going forward, why we’re going forward, the important priorities and so on, in a online way, mostly because of trolls. Now in Taiwan we’ve been perfecting the tool that is originally developed in San Francisco, I think in Seattle, called Polis. Polis is basically AI-moderated conversation that lets people resonate with each other’s statements, without the possibility to troll. Just last week actually we launched with the AIT [American Institute in Taiwan] the first of its kind, a digital dialogue of how Taiwan’s role in global community can be promoted, and we just crowdsourced people’s ideas and there’s zero trolls so far, just hundreds of very useful suggestions. So if you go to talkto dot A-I-T dot O-R-G dot T-W [talkto.ait.org.tw], you can see the system. This system very simply put, is that when you get there, you see one statement from a fellow, for example, Dr. Kharis Templeman from Stanford. And you can either agree or disagree with that statement, but there’s no reply button. As you press agree or disagree, the next statement shows up, and you can just press agree or disagree. As you do that, the avatar, that’s the blue circle, moves along the axis of different camps, you can see how close you are to your social media friends, and so on, and it produces automatically a chart that lists the divisive statements as well as the consensus statements. Now, most of the social media, indeed mainstream media over-focus on divisive statements, and essentially waste people’s time because people are not going to agree overnight on the divisive statements. Actually letting people have a reflective view of what people’s really consensus are gives us a pointer of which that we can say most of the people do agree on most of the things most of the time.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
That enables the US-Taiwan relations to go forward, because by the end of each two month cycle, the AIT would run a public forum that invites live experts and AIT personnel to discuss the top resonating statements, and how it may be integrated into the US-Taiwan relationship. And so the forum promotes what is going to be the four topics the next eight months or so, and I welcome everybody to participate. One of the most resonating statements, colored red here, it’s from Dr. Templeman here, so I’ll just read it aloud. “Taiwan is on the front lines of global confrontation with authoritarianism. Taiwan can work with the US to promote our shared values of protection of rule of law, freedom of speech and assembly, religious tolerance and pluralism, and the voice of ordinary citizens in government.” I think this kind of system explained the part about voice of ordinary citizens in government, but of course the other shared values are very important as well, especially there we’re really in the front line confronting authoritarianism. This is from a website called a CIVICUS monitor, where the human rights activists use to monitor how free any given county are, and it’s in the level of open, narrow, obstructed, repressed to closed based on how many human rights violations, or violations on freedom of speech and assembly and incidents and so on. As you can see, in our part of the world, Taiwan is really the only place that can be called at fully open, meaning that there’s no obstruction whatsoever on people’s freedom of speech and assembly. This is in direct contrast with a nearby jurisdiction, the PRC [People’s Republic of China, colloquially “mainland China”], which is evolving very quickly to a different direction. I’ll just make a couple quick contrasts. For example, with the relationship between the state and the citizen, people have perhaps heard of the social credit system that is covered with a mandatory education app, and that is in the PRC, and people are blocked from the freedom of traveling and of assembly and so on because of their lack of conformation to the social credit system.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Whereas in Taiwan, we use exactly the same internet technology, but the other way around, we make the government transparent to the people, and this is the inaugural G0v project, actually, it starts as budget dot G0v dot T-W [budget.g0v.tw]. This shows a interactive chart of all the different budget items in the national budget, and people can draw down to each of the thousands of year-long projects, and see all the KPIs [key performance indicators], all the procurements made, all the different assessments that a national DEMA council did and so on, and the for real time commentary. Back in 2012, the commentary is mostly people chatting among themselves. Now it’s part of the national regulations. So in an e-participation sent to join the G-O-V dot T-W, not only you can see the budget, but you can also participate in the agenda setting. Once people comment on any piece of budget there are career public servants dedicated to just respond immediately without actually going through middle persons, like the MPs [members of Parliament] or the mainstream media. That actually enabled the MPs and the mainstream media to have a lot more open source intelligence and to work on top of that to give more good investigative reporting, and the public servant doesn’t have to pick up 30 phone calls, one after another, asking about the same thing essentially. While there was initially some resistance, now all the different ministries have adopted it, and so you can see literally all our budgets there, making the government transparent to the people not the other way around. Another contrast could be made between the state and the private sector. Whereas, as we understand doubts now, even in Hong Kong, but mostly in PRC, any company above a certain size need to have a CCP [Chinese Communist Party] party branch. Now, in Taiwan, it’s the other way around. Our regulatory co-creation system, our sandbox system, is designed so that instead of the party, or the ruling party, or the state directing the direction of the companies, as those party branches are want to do, we asked the companies to essentially break regulations and let us know about it.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
The sandbox system is designed so that anyone can work with any municipality and say, “Hey, I want to experiment in platform economy, and AI [artifical intelligence]-based banking, and self-driving vehicles, and whatever that our regulators did not think about.” And so we agree to not fine them or punish them for a year. But in return, they must engage in open innovation and share all the data and assessments with the wider public. By the end of the year, if the public thinks it’s a good idea, then it becomes regulation basically. And if the public doesn’t think it’s a good idea, where we thank the investors for paying the tuitions for everyone, and the next innovator need to start somewhere after that. This is basically having the social innovation leading regulatory innovation. It’s planning in the UK with Fintech, but we’re now really using this model for pretty much everything.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
As Vice President [Mike] Pence said last October, I believe, Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows the better path for all the Chinese people. Indeed, I would say all the people. But on the other hand, this actually creates a contrast to the kind of legitimacy, or lack thereof, of the PRC, which is I think partly why the PRC have been kind of aggressing lately. This background is kind of a inside joke, it’s a censorship of a pretty harmless popular game, called “Devotion” on the Steam gaming platform, just because the red seal there happened to contain the name of the president, Xi Jinping, and that’s the only reason. Otherwise it’s a really harmless game, but it gets censored nevertheless. We see a lot of such kind of bravado in all sorts of different confrontations, and even flying the jets over the middle of the Strait, and things like that. I think none of these are a projection of power, none of these are power projections. They are projection of insecurity. But of course Taiwan is not alone in facing such aggressions, especially around the AIT@40 Event, we have many supporters coming from the US, and we launched a digital dialogue, even though the day we launched the digital dialogue, there’s large scale military action in our surroundings by the PRC. I think that again shows the insecurity. But in any case, we are very welcome, our international like-minded countries in support of furthering our democracy.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
I’ll just say a couple of things about protecting the security of our democracy that we’ve been developing in the past couple years. First, we’re securing our elections against foreign tampering, and tampering takes many, many forms. It could take forms of precision targeted advertisement over social media or regular media. This is actually something that we’ve seen worldwide, that people basically weaponize social media in order to influence elections. I think that is also because Taiwan has one of the world’s most advanced campaign donation laws, the most transparent one, so that all the donation records are actually going to be released, I think, this June for the previous election in machine readable format, essentially Excel spreadsheets. It’s individual records, not just summaries and so on. Because we are that transparent, that means that people, and of course only domestic people can donate to campaigns. And so people with other means of influence usually choose advertisements over campaign donations in order to support their candidates. We’re changing our laws, quite a few laws. We introduced the equivalent of the Honest Ad Act here in Taiwan’s legal system. It’s currently in the parliament and going to be passed soon, that we hold campaign donations and advertisement over social or any other digital media to the same standard for radical transparency. We’re making sure that any disinformation campaign narratives gets exposed, and we’ve developed a notice and public notice system, partnering with the E2E [end to end] encrypted chat application vendor LINE in order to put additional accountability, so that when people see a spreading of disinformation, there is a counter-narrative showing in the same tab in the same app. We attach such clarifications in real time in partnership with our civil society fact checkers. And in this, I think the US has played a really good role, a positive role, through the GCTF training framework. I think I’m in that photo. That’s when we trained the journalists in the Indo-Pacific region, not just bilaterally, but everybody in the region, about how to expose disinformation, how to basically communicate effectively on various information manipulation campaign, and the GEC, the Global Engagement Center, has also provided ample funding opportunity for the civic tech, and other developers in the private and social sector to develop component measures for this regard, and we’re very grateful about that.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Of course we’re also working on cyber security. You may have heard that just last week we published the so called Black List of non-security visor spying they use in our government properties and by the government personnel, and people working in critical infrastructures, and this is actually just the latest of a progression of development. I remember around six years ago when we were just deploying the 4G networks. There was a question from one of the telecommunication vendors that whether they can use devices from the PRC, and our National Security Council and the National Communication Commission at the time decided that while they are market players, at that point, when there is escalation, everybody knows that in the PRC market, actors become non-market actors through one means or another. So because of that, during the 4G deployment, we said explicitly that nobody in critical infrastructure or communication infrastructure in forward use should use PRC components, market actor, or otherwise. Of course we continued this into 5G, and now people are waking up to it. We’re really happy that people are waking up to it. And so we of course again work closely with the US automated indicator sharing, and on US CERRT, that’s the Computer Emergency Rapid Response Team, and things like that. We also share our training frameworks. But of course protecting the facilities and institutions of democracy, the basic cybersecurity and election security, is really so that we can do innovation. And the innovation that I’m particularly in charge of, it’s called Open Government. The US, of course, is the founding member of the Open Government Partnership, currently at the fourth national action plan from the Trump administration. We use the same ideas of Open Government internally in Taiwan as well, that is to say to make the government transparent, participative, accountable, and also inclusive in a sense that we bring the technology to the space of people, rather than asking people to come to the space of technology, and so perhaps, unique in the world.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
We establish what we call the Participation Office (PO) in that wake. I think that Italy is copying this network with their Ministry for Direct Democracy. The idea is very simple. In every ministry there is a team of people, just like offices talking with media, or offices talking with the parliament. There’s offices talking with emergent issues that are going to be a network to collective action. Basically we meet with the protesters before they actually go to the street, because maybe they just want an invitation to the kitchen, so to speak, so we co-create solutions on any and all emergent social and cross-ministry or inter-agency issues. Indeed my office is 22 people, and in Taiwan’s 32 ministries I can poach at most one person from each ministry, and so this is an entirely horizontal cross-cutting, inter-agency digital strategy. The PO network, extended network, is about a hundred people strong in each and every ministry. So whenever there is a, for example e-petition and so on, we work on collaborative meetings that invites all the stakeholders together, and we indeed travel to the place. For example, this is Hengchun, the south most of Taiwan, a popular tourism place. They petitioned, many thousand people petitioned, for the deployment of Black Hawk helicopters to their local airport to serve as ambulance cars, because they’re 90 minutes away from any major hospital, and diving accidents are sometimes fatal because of that. But the Minister of Health and Welfare has said, “Okay, we apply for a larger hospital, and at the different deployment, but there’s no funding from the NDC [National Development Council]. Maybe the NDC can consider working with the Minister of Transportation.” And the Transportation said, “Building a faster highway. We’re still evaluating on that, maybe not this year. The budget, it’s really not there, maybe the Aviation Committee can say something.”

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
The Aviation Committee says, “We don’t have extra Black Hawks, and the Minister of Interior, maybe Ministry of Defense can say something,” and so on. This is the usual shape of inter agency things, but because of Participation Officers, now we’re the PO network, we have, on the regulator level what we call the Ice Bucket Challenge Clause. This is if a Agency or Ministry A think B should own it, if B think C should own it, if C thinks D and D thinks A should own it, then I’m sorry but everybody travels to Hengchun, everybody owns it. And so six, seven actually, ministries all traveled with me to Hengchun, and we met with all the local stakeholder and youth in exactly the same livestream, Sli.do, and so on, with technologies to pinpoint exactly the common values across all those different positions. Then we understood finally that people want to trust their local clinicians more and that outside, they don’t even have the place to serve as dormitory, or to do training, and things like that. So we settled on a plan that is actually what we call Pareto improvement that leaves nobody worse off, and improves people’s life generally. Because this was live-streamed, so the legitimacy is really, really high. People can really see that all the different factions locally have, after summoning us to Hengchun, agreed on this solution and I talk with the Premier. Every couple weeks, we do a collaboration meeting, and next Monday I meet with the Premier and send a synthetic document to the Premier’s office, and so they commit to really a large amount of money.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of Taiwan:
I think $400 million Taiwan New Dollars or something to really drastically rebuild that local hospital facility and fly over the doctors from Kaohsiung to train there instead of flying people to Kaohsiung which, of course, this new solution is much safer. In OCP-TW you can see 43 or so cases that we’ve done in a radically transparent manner. I joined the cabinets to work with, not for, the government and there were three conditions for me to work in the cabinet and that our (1) radical transparency, everything that I hold as a chair, every meeting that I convene, we publish the entire transcript in 10 working days to the internet, and with (2) location independence I would get to work anywhere so this is my office in the social innovation lab in Taiwan and (3) anyone can apply for 40 minutes of chunk of my time. It’s my office hours every Wednesday from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM and the only conditions that you need is to agree for me to publish our conversation online. And so that’s my office hour. Finally, voluntary association as I said, I don’t command my colleagues, they come literally from each and every ministry. So we use pure horizontalism to make sure that we figure out if our projects are of use to everybody. So the regional association of innovation organization tour, which we re-index all our work using the sustainability development goal [SDG] logos that we really put everywhere on name cards, tee shirts, and whatever. We made sure that we travel to the local association innovators working on one or more SDGs and telecommunicate back to the association innovation lab and making sure all the 12 ministries are there. People see each other across the screen and can really solve across a ministry of issues that are related to regional revitalization.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of Taiwan:
There’s many, many other networks internally that we’re expanding outreach and even citywide participation office in LX. This methodology, we of course publish on this social archive “dot-archive” as papers and also as comic books. That’s our training material in six languages including indigenous, because everything is publicly online, we do get a lot of inquiries from the Civic Tech and Gulf Tech communities in all these great cities that are experimenting with this kind of open governance. We have lots of allies, we run workshops, and we’re very happy to share our open confidence approaches in the Indo-Pacific and also abroad. I would just like to conclude with the new consultation platform that the AIT in Taiwan has established to gather the Indo-Pacific democratic governance consultation. I think the first one will be in September around human rights and other issues concerning regional democracy and we’re very happy to share what we have learned to regionally and do whatever we can to assist others around the world who are pursuing progress in their own countries. Thank you very much.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Thank you very much, if you could join us at the table for the next part. Thank you so much for that really vivid talk. All I can say is that it’s too bad we can’t clone you and send you across the globe to start this kind of a movement. Following the minister’s talk we have two of my colleagues from George Washington University to give a short commentary and some reflections on digital space and governance issues and their own views on some of those and their own findings too round out the remarks. First we will start with Dr. Susan Aaronson. She’s a research professor of international affairs at the Elliott School. She’s also a senior fellow at the Think Tank Center for International Governance Innovation in Canada. Susan is currently directing projects on digital trade and protectionism. She also works on artificial intelligence, trade, and a new human rights approach to data. It dovetails very nicely with what the Minister just laid out and Susan holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins University. Following Dr. Aaronson, Dr. Scott White will give his remarks. He is an associate professor here at the George Washington and also he directs the new Cybersecurity Program and Cyber Academy, which is an interesting and new educational platform. Dr. White holds a Queen’s Commission and was an officer of the Canadian Force’s Intelligence Command. So he brings a securities background to this discussion as well. After he did his PhD, he was an officer with the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency. He has consulted with a variety of law enforcement agencies across the globe and he yields a PhD from University of Bristol in the UK. With that, let me ask Susan to lead off.

Susan Aaronson, Research Professor, GW:
Hi everybody and nice to see you here. And thank you Minister Tang. It’s an honor to come follow you given all the good that you’ve done in the world. So Deepa asked me to try to focus my presentation thinking about this in the context, both of my own research and also of China and China’s thinking -You should know this by now right? You need a mic- but I decided to do something different from what Deepa asked, and what I’d like to do is put it in a larger context of the world in which we live today and the role of technology and then what can the United States – an aging democracy – learn from this vibrant new democracy.

Susan Aaronson, Research Professor, GW:
The reason I’m saying that is because I used to teach corruption, and when I taught it, I learned that attacking corruption is all about trust. It’s all about building trust and forging, anti-corruption counterweights built on trust. It’s in that context that I’ll comment on some of the innovations that Minister Tang has done. So thinking about this in terms of technologies, we can be techno-optimist so we can be techno-pessimists and I’d rather be neither because I think technologies, especially data driven technologies, have given us both the best and the worst of times. I would say today, almost every democratic society from Sweden to Taiwan to the United States, is threatened by corruption, inequality, terrorism, and technology tools that both improve our lives and threaten our quality of life. And one reason I think is that these new technologies contribute to a decline in trust and a rise in distrust. They’re not the same thing. They’re two very distinct things. Trust is the social capital that enables good governance in the rule of law, but no one knows how to build trust once it’s lost. That I think is a key problem if you want to achieve good governance. So let’s compare the United States and Taiwan. Trust in government has been declining and in institutions in the United States have been declining for a really long time. In Taiwan obviously in some areas it’s declining, but in other areas it’s on the rise. So Minister Tang has said her approach builds on trust. And her premise is, from what I read that you wrote: if the government trusts the people with agenda setting power, then the people can make democracy work.

Susan Aaronson, Research Professor, GW:
What has she done to achieve that objective? Again I’m not criticizing it, I want to highlight it. So she’s created a multi-prong strategy and infrastructure for a more effective feedback loop. Individuals can influence government and government, hopefully, hears what the people are saying and responds to it. I think her idea of participation officers is really quite brilliant. The problem is, it does nothing to really build that trust. And I think that’s something that you need to figure out how to do in a time of misinformation, which is another different thing in alternative facts. Another thing that Taiwan has done, the minister spoke about this, is using crowdsourcing to improve law and regulation. And a lot of governments have been experimenting with this. I’m ambivalent about it because it tends to be special interests that care about this that are involved in it. Nonetheless, I think it can build the trust; that’s why I’m ambivalent. On one hand you don’t get average people, but you do get them to see the government is responsive and get them involved. I think that’s a really, really good thing. It also seems like it started to work on issues in Taiwan. That is really impressive, a consensus approach built on dialogue. Okay. It’s interesting to see. We looked at where is Taiwan in terms of open government, governing data, and honestly to my amazement, Taiwan, if you like beauty contests, ranking, perception metrics, Taiwan ranks number one in the open data governance index score and that’s pretty impressive. All those things are things that Minister Tang has achieved and Taiwan has achieved. But I want to just put it in the larger context of technological things and then I’ll shut up.

Susan Aaronson, Research Professor, GW:
Misuse of data is forcing us to rethink a lot of things that we took for granted as goods; and a good #1 is trade. In terms of trade, every government, and believe me I’ve been looking, I’ve spent two years looking, every government has some degree of what I call data nationalism. They want to control certain types of data and they have all sorts of excuses: “because it’s personal data”, “because it’s a secret data”, etc., and that challenges us to rethink whether or not openness is an inherent good and if trade is an inherent good. We have to think “what is a barrier today in openness and what isn’t”? “What is necessary public policy”? That’s just something to think about and I don’t know if Taiwan has thought about that. Number two, more and more companies, and strangely enough these companies have meant to be US and Chinese, are organizing and owning more and more of the world’s data. I find that deeply scary and I don’t understand why more and more scholars are not thinking about this. So Google’s mission as an example, is to organize the world’s data. That’s the mission statement of the company? Is that appropriate? And that company, which I think is to do good, but certainly doesn’t in everything, has so much of the world’s public, personal, and proprietary data. And just so that you know it, anytime a company takes your personal data and creates an algorithm and tries to come up with whether it’s an ad or it’s a solution to a problem, that company owns that solution and owns that data. So much data and so much of the solutions to many of the world’s problems are going to reside in companies. And that’s going to have huge effects on democracy. But it’s also what we call information asymmetry, if you study economics.

Susan Aaronson, Research Professor, GW:
Other nations and companies can’t effectively challenge the market power of these firms. And then finally we have seen some of these firms, such as Facebook and Twitter, have become tools that both, on one hand support democracy, and undermine democracy. More and more of these companies are being asked to do the job of government and what do I mean by that? That is to make decisions about data, in your data and my data, but also data that is essential to knowledge. There, they have to make decisions as to when to take it down, how to take it down, and what to take down. I find that deeply disturbing in the future we’re going to need strategies to better help the public govern these companies as well as our governments. To better understand data use and misleads, to better understand the mixing of public, proprietary, and personal data sets. How will democracies like the United States and Taiwan educate our citizens about this? I have no idea, but I do know this: that is going to be an essential good governance and open governance question. Thank you.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
All right. Thank you. Thanks Susan for that broader context and for touching on your research at least and now to Scott White for further context and however he wants to contextualize that.

Scott White, Director, Cyber Security Program, GW:
Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you, Minister, they were lovely words. These are challenging times, for me personally. They are challenging times because I built a career on secrecy. I was in the intelligence services and secrecy of information is what we do and what we collect. But ultimately somewhere along that chain you have to disseminate that information, tell him that his officers realize that at some point along the continuum that information is going to be a value, must be disseminated to other partners to share and then operationalize. That in itself is a dichotomy. For me, having spent my career in secrecy to now find the optimal path is one of openness. You’re challenging me, Minister, at my very core. The problem we have is governments need to confront the challenge of cyberspace whilst being equal and just. Preserving innovation and honoring the social contract that it has between the citizens and the state whilst at the same time maintain security. Responsible governance then is new to cyberspace, but ultimately imperative. The model that our friends in Taiwan have expressed one of openness and accountability is a utopian state for us. But how do we get there? How do we get there, sir? Ma’am, ladies, and gentlemen? How do we get there? How do we get there whilst at the same time have security? We are confronted by a government, Madam Minister, were right beside you, that has spent a great amount of time and a great amount of money in creating probably the most dynamic social security force that we have seen. China has been very open with its concept of cyber sovereignty and the desire to extend its own ideas and its own ways of social governance to the cyber world. They’re in the midst of building the most expensive governance regime for cyberspace and information telecommunications that any country has seen in the world, recognizing that technology and the advances that are being made so quickly can not be controlled relatively easily by the government.

Susan Aaronson, Research Professor, GW:
So as we have the expansion of technology and the growth of technology, so to do we have the desire to control in China. This leads us to a variety of issues that we have to deal with. How do we in democratic societies advocate for openness? Whilst at the same time, one of our large adversaries is moving mountains to create an environment of security and dare I say even social repression? When we do a security audit for Beijing, we find that the extent to government is well beyond that of just the society, just beyond the local governance, through the companies. And we see this presently in my old country of Canada, well the Americans asked for the arrest and detention of the vice president of Huawei. Huawei has just moved to 5G. Will we meet them there? Against this challenge we have a government that is an expansionist. We see China mobilizing in much of Africa now to assist the developing world and large projects, whilst at the same time we see Chinese government control in those societies. The social contract is there for China and its people. The social governance that they extend through the Communist Party makes it very clear, the ambitions of the Chinese government. How then do we confront this government whilst at the same time, as the Minister has said, create an open, honest environment for the people? That’s not just an academic question for us, it is a real life question. It is a real life question because democracy is being challenged around the world today. In fact, dare I say it’s being challenged here. Dare I say when we have a president who on occasion will ask members of his cabinet to engage in activities which we would deem not prejudicial to the best interest of the democracy.

Scott White, Director, Cyber Security Program, GW:
I know that we’re going to go to questions, so I won’t spend too much time. But the challenge again, for us, is: “How do we create a secure environment?” We know that model. Our friends in China are very cognizant of the model they use. It is the largest model that we see. Taiwan and India have introduced a new model for us. The Taiwan model is one of openness, fairness, accountability, all the things that we would like to see, and yet on the other hand, we have a very aggressive state moving, equally as dynamically, throughout the world to impose a different system. How do we engage in the cyber world? Commerce. Democracy. It is probably the greatest democratic tool we have right now. How do we engage there whilst at the same time protect our national security and therein protect the values that we share here in the United States, we share with our friends in Taiwan? Openness. Justice. All of the things that we were raised on and all of the things that our security forces spend a career maintaining. This is the dichotomy. This is the problem that we are confronted with. This is ultimately the challenge for security services. I’ll leave you with that and we’ll look forward to taking questions. Thank you very much.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Thank you very much, Scott. I’m delighted that we have two commentators who, one coming from much more radical openness to a more tempered set of views that are necessary to raise at this forum. So I think Minister Tang, you’ve opened an extraordinary conversation here that we have now a variety of ways in which to address it. And I know there are many questions. I don’t know what kind of your questions we have coming in, but if you don’t mind, I would actually like to take the first question, although I know there are many questions out here, I can’t resist. It’s a sort of straightforward question for you and that is the fact that this kind of open governance and your innovative system that you’ve introduced provides Taiwan a very important, what I would call, soft power in the international arena regionally in particular. Especially when, as you lay out, the difference between the PRC and Taiwan, there is that huge asymmetry of soft power in your favor. How does one, because I teach it, look at these things and how important is soft power at the end of the day? How would you formulate the use of soft power in projecting Taiwan in the international and regions surrounding?

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of Taiwan:
Certainly. My name card literally has a picture of the United Nations and which are there also and printed underneath it are the slogan: “How can I help,” which is a trending hashtag in Taiwan occasionally. “How can I help” summarizes how we’re postiring to the international community, basically saying that in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, because it is collectively agreed by PRC alike. By the year 2030 we’re going to focus on 169 issues in certain categories. Mainly the issues are structured and they can only be solved if across sectors people have reliable data, people can build partnerships on the reliable data, and get the innovation started and Taiwan starts to offer in medical governance, in the air quality, water quality, and what we call the CEBEL IOT [Internet of things] System, were all built in a open source way system that people can readily use without getting controlled by people in Taiwan. So you don’t have to be subservient to our innovations and networks to use and contribute to our open collaborative innovations. That’s actually the main message during the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) that was in New York, that I sent to our partners and my counterparts, in other countries that in any and each Sustainable Development Goals, there are models in Taiwan that we can offer to help in a non-colonial way.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Okay. Thank you so much. All right, I will now open the floor to questions as well as the virtual space here.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of Taiwan:
Anyone from the audience? “In the flesh” always takes priority.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Yes, and when you ask the question, please do identify yourself. Yes that gentlemen. I think we have a mic.

Leo Bosner, Q&A #1:
Thanks, I’m Leo Bosner, a disaster researcher doing work in Taiwan and Japan. My question for Dr. Aaronson, I think, how do we deal with this conflict I see, between soft power and trade? When President Trump just put in the tariffs against China, there was big article in the paper about a soybean farmer out West who’s really upset because now he can’t ship his soybeans to China and get the money he wants. And it seems like that fella really doesn’t care that China is throwing Muslims into concentration camps or undermining universities around the world. He just wants to sell the soybeans and make money. So how do we deal with that? How can that be addressed? But this way that trade in a way is undermining the whole democratization and soft power business. Or to put it is I think Lenin said, what’d he say? The capitalist will sell the rope that they use to hang them with, something like that?

Susan Aaronson, Research Professor, GW:
Actually my true area of expertise, the bulk of my research has been on the relationship between trade rules and human rights. And it’s very difficult to measure how trade affects human rights. And I think your question is such an important one and I very much appreciate it, but I think you’re comparing two very different things. If I may? First thing is, is the problem that the farmer doesn’t think about the connections between trade and human rights? Is the problem that George, excuse me, that Donald Trump doesn’t care about human rights and is using trade policy as his main tool to bash a wide range of countries, including our allies? Is the problem that we all don’t understand how trade can enhance human rights and they can do so directly, indirectly, and overtime? And I would argue that China teaches a lesson that you do have more leverage with more trade, but I think we’re losing that leverage. But that doesn’t mean that it will directly enhance human rights. And in fact it can have simultaneously terrible effects on many human rights. But it doesn’t seem to me that the problem is with the farmer. The problem is us, that we didn’t do a good job of educating the farmer about the relationship between trade and human rights, which is complex and not so black and white. I have strong views on it, which is, I think more trade over time can instill more human rights, but it depends on the human right, and we just can’t bully China into changing. That authoritarian regime is determined to stay in power. More trade, less trade, whatever we do. Given that that’s a reality, how do we have more leverage over China on these issues? I believe it’s by partnering with other nations to work together to change the behavior of China, but we’re not doing that. And I think that’s the more worrisome problem. I think it’s very hard as more try. I mean I was recently in Switzerland and it looked to me, like I said, an awful lot of Chinese tourists. So should more Chinese people have the right to freedom to see other countries to get educated in other countries. I hope they’ll learn something about democratic values. That’s human nature, what a long way to the answer.

Leo Bosner, Q&A #1:
Okay.

Susan Aaronson, Research Professor, GW:
Thank you for asking.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
All right, thank you. Yes, gentleman in the back. And then we’ll take a question from online.

Q&A #2:
I’ve wondered in Taiwan, are they addressing the situation in transportation, such as airbag issues, by using digital technology to track and follow problems like this and require repairs to the vehicles? It’s an international issue. We have the problem here with MITSA. It says here it’s been generally, fairly decent I understand, in automobile repairs. But now, with the new situation, with problems with aircraft repairs and issues on a new aircraft and this sort of occasion. Are they looking at this in Taiwan or US aircraft and are the, say, Toyota and Lexus vehicles, which have suffered many problems with unattended acceleration, has that been addressed at all? I think digital is a way of following all of this.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Mm-hmm (affirmative) yeah sure. So yes, but I don’t have many specific details but I do personally work on two cases that may be relevant. One is, we do use distributed ledger technology. People call it blockchain. Feel free to continue calling it blockchain, but I’m going to say it’s a district of ledgers. So we’re using DLTs [Distributed Ledger Technologies] to trend supply chain, but, honestly speaking, it starts with data that is not in the private sector but rather people’s measurements of air quality, water quality, like atmospheric, free of privacy concern data. Let’s do that, it’s very important because when Dr. Aaronson says that intel is number one in a global open data index, I want to emphasize that open data in Taiwan doesn’t only mean open government data, it means open data from the citizens’ side, from the private sectors in a true collaborative data-collaborative play. And so how do you generate trust between a supply chain of any manufacturing of a shipping line of so-called the “code storage” between a manufacturing of foods to its final safety space, and organic food and things like that? All of this needs people who don’t have implicit trust in each other to contribute data to account on, that people trust that cannot be mutated by any other party and when it makes sense to use distributed ledger technology, we do use the distributed ledger technology. And so how it is, I think one of them is in an advanced place t use blockchains for governance, maybe behind Estonia, who retroactively renamed the ID system to speed, to say that they were on blockchain before it had turned blockchain on PS . I think that we can’t really fight with that but in any case, we’re really progressing using distributed ledgers to give accountability across the different sectors. The other thing that I mentioned about a sandbox system. It’s really, the sandbox system is a data collaborative system designed to have trust of the entire, for example, self-driving cars just like the MCD, we have a proving ground for self-driving cars and other kinds of vehicles, and again the data arrangement as such, there are people who partner in such a data collective do – have not just the visibility to each other’s data, but for private data – they also have the ability to ship algorithms to one another and run the algorithms locally by the data operators and give out statistics that we can mathematically say it’s provably true or true within reasonable doubt. People did not fake it, that during their proving grounds, you start to mix it in the same box and so that’s a lot of technical detail. But basically, we incentivized by giving essentially one year monopolies, free from penalties from law, in exchange for such data collaboratives. And so that’s the two cases I have that may be potentially related to the question that you have. It was a business point of Aaronson’s question.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Scott White has a question…

Scott White, Director, Cyber Security Program, GW:
Madam Minister. How do you, and again the bravery is so apparent to me, how do you address the openness, the trust that you hold so true within your own security services?

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Well, very carefully.

Scott White, Director, Cyber Security Program, GW:
What is the solution?

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Well, the solution is really a hack. So as part of my running-for-transparency working condition, I don’t even look at state secrets. No state secret passes my office. My office has a dedicated personnel to handle confidential information. I don’t see any state secret whatsoever and when there is a military drill where the cabinet members are asked to go to the bunkers, I just take a day off. And so this is called physical isolation. So basically I don’t know anything about state secrets and therefore I cannot accidentally compromise them. I’m not advocating that everybody follows suit. There’s going to be people working on national security, but for example, on my work on cyber security and so on, I’m working on the general outline without getting into specific cases, which actually gets pretty far. I’m always on alert.

Scott White, Director, Cyber Security Program, GW:
Thank you.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Okay thank you. I’m going to ask Richard to read out one of the questions. I hear the second one on disinformation looks particularly interesting.

Richard Haddock, Program Coordinator, Q&A #4:
All right, so a threat of disinformation is that people could be persuaded, not necessarily that they are. How can g0v-zero help reveal how influential disinformation actually is?

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Okay, so I get to wear my civic hacker tech because the question asks about g0v-zero, not government, which gives us a much wider range to talk about. There are certain limitations to what a state can do for disinformation without going into state propaganda or censorship of information and say on. But a g0v-zero community has come up with a pretty good innovative solution and it’s called co-facts or collaborative fact-checking and there’s a bot called vocab, Cofacts bot. And so many people go the Cofacts website, which is Cofacts, not G-zero-V-dot-T-W. It’s not a government website that basically asks people to install bots basically and bots’ friends and whenever they see on WhatsApp, like channels in Taiwan, it’s called Line. It’s end to end encrypted. So the state doesn’t get to view what’s inside the envelope. But nevertheless, whenever people feel unsure about any information that people have passed to them, they can just simply forward to that bot and that bot will forward it to a group of collective fact checkers that basically just does two things.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
First, anything that’s flagged by two or more people gets a public URL. So that basically anything that’s trending, before they get weaponized, they get exposed. And so people inoculate against what’s potentially weaponizable misinformation and so that it doesn’t actually turn into disinformation. And a second thing is that once the collective fact checkers adds up the, you know, materials and write a clarification message to fact check if it’s false, partly true or things like that, the bots gets back to everybody who had forwarded that to the bot. And so it adds to the conversation without censoring anything away. And there’s many derivative point checkers. One on BBC and I think CNN got a mini e-bot, the LP Jade bot, that basically you can invite to your family chat rooms and channels and basically it takes every incoming message. It doesn’t store it, but it compares what’s inside the database of Cofacts. And if it’s fact checked as false, above a certain similarity, it just says on the family chat channel that this is fact checked as false and things are not what this says it’s are, and please view this no more. And so I think the idea is that it saves people from the effort to correct dear parents and their children that bought that stuff for them. And it’s so effective that we can literally see the trending map of the disinformation or misinformation campaigns. And also the data deadline economy. So after seeing the success of this civic tech, innovation now agrees, I think by June or so, to basically have this as one of their built-in features so that for anything, any message you can long press and forward it to the Cofacts and other fact-checking community as a built in function of the Line app itself and they’re going to allocate a time for real time clarification so that there’s a balance of views for everybody using that end to end encrypted system. And so the beauty of this is just as how we solve spam. We don’t solve spam by forcing everybody to disclose peoples’ emails’ contents to the government, rather we ask all this to email agents, what we say to the user agent, which is the vendors, to put a flag button too, so that people can flag something as spam and therefore voluntarily contribute to the international spam blocking network, the spam house project. And once it’s rated as spam, it’s not censored. It still goes to your mail box. It just goes to the junk mail folders so that you can check it when you have too much time. So it doesn’t waste people’s time on average, and this is the kind of agreement we’re reaching with social media companies such as Facebook that’s going to bow down the virality of things that are fact-checked as false by the international fact-checking network of which Taiwan is a member.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Thank you. I just want to follow up and ask, to what extent this is being adopted by other countries because it seems like a such a widespread problem, especially during elections, especially in India right now, there’s a lot of disinformation going on.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
That’s right. So I don’t actually manage the Cofacts project, but from what I’ve seen on GitHub and the public development that it’s been imported, adapted to WhatsApp. And I think because this really is a social construct. We have received a lot of interest from, like the coders of Japan, and the coders of Cofacts work internationally as long as there is at least three or four people who agree to meet every week to look at people’s flagged as rumor messages, you can get this crowdsourced fact-checking going. And so I think there’s many early attempts at the moment. But I don’t have any numbers as to whether it gets to the same degree as Line in Taiwan. I think that’s also because Line is not operating in the entire world, as entirely within the East Asia region. And so we basically chose Taiwan as the pilot site and see whether this does show accountability. Does Line actually make this information issue at least more visible to every search community and if it does work, I’m sure that other easily encrypted channels like WhatsApp and so on, will learn from this effort.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Okay. Thank you. Other questions from the audience? Yes. In the front, that one. There’s the mic back there.

Milo Hsieh, Intern, Q&A #5:
I’m Milo Hsieh. I’m an intern at the US-Taiwan Business Council. So I’m wondering if Taiwan is complying with the Sustainable Development Goals and has also complied with several other committees, like GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] –

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Of course.

Milo Hsieh, Intern, Q&A #5:
– and the UN’s two covenants. So I’m wondering what is the rationale between why Taiwan is so committed to complying to these international conventions and where you see this compliance going in the future?

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Well, because we can help, and I mean, if we’re not compliant ourselves, there’s no way that we can offer help to our diplomatic allies and like-minded countries. And so we really SDG [Sustainable Development Goal]-index everything, our CSR [corporate social responsibility] reports that our SDG index, I think, is ranked one of the highest in the world and also I think over 50% now. And our universities also index their working in social responsibility again within the SDG framework. So if you look at our voluntary national report that only outlines what the state commits to do, but, there’s very comparable reports on a dashboard. We’re going to introduce a dashboard shortly that you can just select any of the goals and see the different sectors in Taiwan and what they are they’re capable of contributing to. And we’re also giving out regional awards like the APSIPA, the Asia Pacific Social Innovation Partnership Award. Then it gives awards not to specific organizations or individuals, but to unlikely partnerships across countries and across different sectors in advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals. And so I think our top prize this year went to the “Stigondewa” fashion village lab that is part of the UN Creative City network. And so to answer your question, first step, we really have to be compliant because there’s a common language that allows sectors to talk to each other. It’s just common vocabulary. And the second thing is that because we’re willing to help, we also use this as a extended way to mark our existing efforts that you can see in our BMR and other social responsibility efforts.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
All right. Any other queries?

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
Yes. Inside, gentleman over there.

Steve Travor, Congressional Staffer, Q&A #6:
My name’s Steve Traver. I work mostly on security issues related to Taiwan. And of course our primary concern are physical kinetic attacks and making sure the country’s prepared to deal with that. But our discussion today gets to a whole different sort of threat that we’re very worried about, and supporting our allies and Taiwan, which is a cyber attack, which we’ve brought up – and I don’t want to get into the details of the nature of that attack and what might happen and so on and so forth. What I’d really like to hear from someone who is dedicating their life to working with the young people in Taiwan: any kind of a sense from you of, do the young people in Taiwan have any sense of the threat that they’re under and do they feel a sense of urgency? So this is my question. Do they feel a sense of urgency in being prepared both individually and as part of a generation that’s going to have to confront this thing?

Digital Minister Audrey Tang, Republic of China:
Right. The answer is in an equivocal yes. But I wouldn’t say that before 2014 – I think 2014 really is the watershed year – it was the Sunflower Movement and the Occupy Movement where young people literally occupied the parliament for 22 days to put a stop to the Cross-Strait Service And Trade Agreement that was just fast-tracked through the parliament because, somehow constitutionally, a loophole makes that it doesn’t have to be subject to the same process that all the bilateral agreements have to go through because Beijing is a domestic city of Taiwan, you see? But in any case, in 2014, that constitutional loophole was viewed with some tolerance by the general population, but the Occupy [Movement] really brought it to everybody’s mind that we do have this constitutional loophole going on and people are willing to go to the street, half a million people on the street, many more online. And I was one of the persons who maintained a communication framework during the Occupy [Movement]. And so after the Occupy [Movement], I would say the younger generation do feel a sense of urgency of protecting our democratic way of life. And also that it made, for example, cyber security, a very popular choice of career for young people. Really being a white hat hacker in Taiwan ensured that you can get paid well, 5-7% of all government project procurement goes to cyber security, that you get to meet with president, additional minister personally once in a while and so on, so that they don’t fall to the dark side – which always has cookies – but in any case it makes cyber security and general awareness, a very popular thing in a young generation and they do see the PRC [People’s Republic of China] more as a conquering force. They don’t have any conception of the overlapping sovereignty and other kinds of ideologies that basically still appears in the mind of people who still remember the martial law.

Steve Travor, Congressional Staffer, Q&A #6:
Thank you.

Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director, Sigur Center:
All right. We’ve actually come to the end of the program. I wanted just to make a couple of announcements. One, this is the last week of class, so I want to thank those of you who I know are very busy. Those of you came to hear the Minister and others speak. I also want to say that the photo exhibit, there are only eight of them right here, but we are working on a study of a larger, 40 plus set of photo exhibits in the future so stay tuned. We’re still working on trying to get that, to have an exhibit here at the Elliott School on that, kind of a journey of US-Taiwan relations, some of the key elements appear. And also we are having lunch right after. Yes, thanks for waiting patiently. Right outside in the hallway, we collect it and you can sit outside or come in here. And also – a thank you to IIEP [Institute for International Economic Policy] for advertising the event and joining us. And finally, let me just say what a tremendous honor and privilege it was to have you, Minister Tang, to grace us with your presence. And really I can see that you can ignite a movement almost on the sort of digital governance. And even I’m so inspired and excited. I’m someone who is a political scientist who shuns technology as much as I can. But you have really made it so accessible and so exciting. So thank you and thank you also to my fellow analysts here. Please join me.

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2 thoughts on “4/23/2019: Shared Values in U.S.-Taiwan Relations: Strengthening Democracy Through Open Governance

  1. Jeff

    Will you post the video on the SIGUR or IIEP youtube channel?

    • hjiang310

      Hi Jeff, while we don’t regularly film our conferences, the audio is available on this event page.

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