Sat, May 04, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Simon Chang unveils his digital nation referendum

By Lee Hsin-fang and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Former premier Simon Chang holds the proposal for a “digital nation” referendum outside the Central Election Commission in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

Former premier Simon Chang (張善政) yesterday unveiled the “digital nation” referendum he is sponsoring and delivered 2,500 signatures to the Central Election Commission.

The proposed referendum hopes to establish an innovative digital committee or bureau, or similar agency, as part of the Executive Yuan to further develop the nation’s digital capabilities, said Chang, who last month announced his intention to run in next year’s presidential election as an independent candidate.

The government would, by law, have to establish laws and implement the agency should the referendum pass, Chang said, adding that should he win the presidential election, he would establish such an agency as his first executive order.

The next challenge is to obtain the 300,000 signatures to make the referendum a reality, Chang said, adding that the primary problem — and also the most time and resource-consuming — would be how to collect the signatures.

Chang’s solution is to work with a taxi fleet and ride-hailing app — possibly Taiwan Taxi and Uber — to collect and organize the signatures.

The referendum’s primary purpose is to make Taiwan a digitally and technologically robust nation, Chang said.

He called the referendum the “Digital May Fourth Movement.”

The May Fourth Movement was a student-led movement calling for democratization, further scientific studies and discontent about the “Shandong Issue” under the nascent Republic of China government in 1919.

The “Shandong Issue” referred to the perceived inability of the government to protect China’s national interests such as the Treaty of Versailles handing Japan territories in Shandong, which had been surrendered by Germany after the Siege of Tsingtao in 1914.

Chinese academic and philosopher Hu Shih (胡適) had wished for wide-spread education in China a century ago, Chang said, adding that he hoped his “movement” would spur Taiwanese to have a deeper understanding of technology.

Chang said that he would be forming a nonpartisan Digital Legislators’ Association that would accept any candidate running for a legislative seat who recognizes that the government must implement structural changes to keep up with the digital age.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top