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The First Meeting of the Taipei Citizen Participation Committee Inaugurated on April 1

The First Meeting of the Taipei Citizen Participation CommitteeCarrying out the political ideal of open government and public participation, Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je himself serves as the Chair of the Taipei Citizen Participation Committee (hereinafter referred to as “the Committee”) and presided over the first meeting on April 1, 2015. The Committee has two deputy chairpersons - one is the deputy mayor Li-fang Chou and the other is one of the outside committee members Yu-ya Liu, elected by the committee members at the first meeting to serve the function.

The Committee consists of 25 members – three appointed members, 10 department chiefs of the Taipei City Government, and 12 members selected from the open self-nomination. The tree appointed members are Chi Cheng, Shih Hsin-min, and Liu-Lin Wei. Government officials serving as the committee members include Lan Shih-tsung, Commissioner of the Department of Civil Affairs, Tang Chih-min, Commissioner of the Department of Education, Chung Hui-yu, Commissioner of the Department of Transportation, Hsu Li-min, Commissioner of the Department of Social Welfare, Lin Jou Min, Commissioner of the Department of Urban Development, Lee Wei-bin, Commissioner of the Department of Information Technology, Yang Fang-ling, Commissioner of the Department of Legal Affairs, Liang Hsiu-Chu, Commissioner of the Department of Budget, Accounting, and Statistics, etc. In addition, an online self-nomination was open for those interested in public affairs and having substantial experiences in public participation. Twelve members were chosen from the self-nomination list through a selection procedure, including Lu Chia-hua, Lee Chuo-han, Lin Mei-na, Hung Pei-jen, Tang Feng-cheng, Hsu Chia-tian, Chen Ming-li, Chen Yu-chi, Huang Hui-fen, Liu Yu-ya and Hsieh Hui-he. All committee members serve for a two-year term without compensation.

Mayor Ko said that municipal affairs are not just for a small group of people. Since he took office, he has been emphasizing open government and public participation. While the establishment of the Citizen Participation Committee is the process to achieve the goal of returning the political power to the people, I-voting and Civil Café are the pioneering programs to realize the spirit. Mayor Ko also mentioned many issues can be discussed at the Committee, such as how much and to whom the government information to be disclosed, how to carry out participatory budgeting, data mining of the government information after being made openly available, etc. The Committee is expected to become a communication platform, inviting outside opinions and gathering citizens’ wisdom to help establish and evaluate the public participation mechanisms.

In order for more citizens to participate, the first meeting of the Citizen Participation Committee approved the proposal of having online live broadcasting for future meetings. Besides, the missions of the working group on open data and the working group on data mining are highly correlated, the Committee thus decided to merge them into one as the working group on open data. The outside committee members chose the working group to participate in accordance with their preferences. A convener was also elected from group members for each working group. In the future, every working group will hold meetings every month to discuss related issues and push for the establishment and implementation of various systems to realize the democratic ideal of open government and public participation.