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April 27, 2017

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Cabinet to appoint minister to steer open gov't initiative

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Cabinet is set to appoint software extraordinaire Audrey Tang (唐鳳) as a minister without portfolio tasked with supervising an open government initiative and other digital economic programs, a spokesperson announced Thursday.

According to Cabinet Spokesman Tung Chen-yuan (童振源), Tang was selected by Premier Lin Chuan (林全) to supervise government open data initiatives as well as to aid the implementation of its "Asian Silicon Valley" project (亞洲矽谷計畫).

Highly regarded in software programming circles, Tang was a child prodigy who became an entrepreneur, serving as a consultant to various California's Silicon Valley firms, including Apple.

Tang reportedly has an IQ of 180. She is perhaps best known to have initiated the project to implement the Perl 6 programming language and has also headed major translation projects of open source-related books into Standard Chinese. At 35, she would become the youngest Cabinet minister ever to serve in Taiwan's government.

Following the announcement, Tang posted on Facebook: "My existence is not to become a minister for a certain group, nor to broadcast government propaganda. Instead, it is to become a "channel" to allow greater combinations of intelligence and strength to come together."

She added that she hoped to become "the public servant of public servants" by implementing and utilizing digital technology systems in order to solve the problems of government agencies while strengthening cooperation between the public and private sectors in technological and public domains. Tang said she would take up her position as "digital minister" on Oct. 1.

Her appointment comes amid increasing scrutiny over the viability of the government's Silicon Valley project, the subject of four separate Cabinet-level meetings since late June.

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