An In conversation with Audrey Tang, who was appointed Taiwan’s first Digital Minister by President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016. Lowy Institute Director of Public Opinion Natasha Kassam spoke to Audrey Tang about their journey from an activist and civic hacker to a senior minister, and how digital democracy and innovation have helped Taiwan to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the spread of disinformation and tensions with China.
Audrey Tang held positions across a range of technology companies and start-ups before becoming involved in politics during Taiwan’s 2014 Sunflower Movement, when Tang volunteered to help the protesters occupying Taiwanese parliament to broadcast their message. Tang was then invited to build a media literacy curriculum for Taiwan’s schools, and appointed Taiwan’s first digital minister in 2016. Tang has been a key figure in Taiwan’s pandemic response, and was named one of Foreign Policy magazine’s 100 global thinkers in 2019.
Natasha Kassam is the Director of the Lowy Institute’s Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Program, directing the annual Lowy Institute Poll and researching China’s politics, Taiwan, and Australia-China relations. She is also a Fellow of the ANU National Security College’s Futures Council and a member of the Advisory Board for the University of Melbourne’s Asian Law Centre. Prior to joining the Lowy Institute, Natasha was an Australian diplomat in China and Solomon Islands, and part of the drafting team for the Australian government’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper.