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Passing on the Baton: Mayor Thanks Citizens, Highlights Integrity and Honesty

Mayor Ko and city officials at the press conferenceOn December 22, Taipei City Government held a press conference commemorating the eight years under Mayor Ko Wen-je’s administration. The event began with a 7-minute-long documentary with highlights from his two terms in office and the achievements of his team. 


The press conference also featured talks by several cabinet members, including Economic Development Commissioner Lin Chung-chieh, IT Commissioner Simon Lu, Finance Commissioner Chen Chia-chen, Education Commissioner Tseng Tsan-chin, Social Welfare Commissioner Chou Yu-hsiu, and Information and Tourism Commissioner Liu Yi-ting.


During his address, the mayor remarked that for the past eight years, he insisted on the principles of “open government, public participation, and transparency.” He was determined to initiate a social movement, seeking to overturn Taiwan’s political culture by emphasizing rationality, practicality, and science. He believes that he reinstated the public’s trust in the government and brought politics into the everyday life of citizens. Over the past eight years, his team brought changes to Taipei City, and many of these changes are still ongoing.


Commissioner Lin pointed out that he is one of the few commissioners who served eight years alongside the mayor. During this period, Taipei’s innovative entrepreneurship ranks first in the nation. The Garden City Initiative has also taken roots at different levels, effectively meking it a citywide movement involving over 370,000 residents and creating over 700 gardens across the city. The city also saw a series of traditional market overhaul. 


Commissioner Lu compared his four years of service to conducting a post-doctorate research project. Meeting the mayor on a daily basis is much like reporting to the professor to report on thesis progress. His peers – commissioners and directors – remain on high alert during meetings, which felt like walking on thin ice. In the area of IT policies, Taipei City has made significant progress in the domain of smart city. The agency also established the Taipei Urban Intelligence Center and introduced TaipeiPASS app. It has also won international recognition for its accomplishments.


Commissioner Liu recounted the challenges during the COVID-19 crisis, where his staff spent countless nights looking up and securing quarantine hotel rooms well into the wee hours. Mayor Ko might even show up for a surprise visit the the following day to inspect the hotel rooms and environment in person.


At the end of the press conference, a number of journalists took the opportunity to take photos with the mayor. Mayor Ko also joined commissioners and top-level city officials for a group photo, commemorating the achievements of his administration across eight years and helping Taipei City change for the better.