It is expected that the ICTs can maximise the benefits for improved governance and electronic democracy in the information age. This study explores the impact of e-government upon citizens and demonstrates how this kind of electronic medium affects the quality of democracy in the context of the new democracies. Taiwan's peculiar characteristics, which combine a Confucian context, a new democracy and a leading performance in e-government, offers an interesting example of the conceptual diversity of e-government in itself, especially in relation to the level of democracy. Thus, this study uses the Taiwanese experience of developing, using and understanding e-government to identify the effect of e-governance in the new democracies. It integrates larger theoretical and empirical evidence, drawing upon several disciplines, including political science and public administration, communications studies, education and the sociology of technology. The research methods deployed are: documentary analysis, secondary analysis, content analysis and interview. The data are cross-referred and the analysis is presented in different sections.\ud In this study, four themes are discussed: civil education, the policy initiatives, the public use and the public understanding of e-government. I first indicate that civic education in Taiwan has gradually paid more attention to the mode of participation, but the values supporting democracy have not yet been fully instilled. Secondly, the Taiwanese government has been more inclined to use e-government to reorganise itself than to incorporate more of the public in its operation. Thirdly, democratic participation has not yet extended in the public use of e-government in Taiwan. Fourthly, e-government in Taiwan has a modem format, but lacks political efficacy, since it lacks the mechanisms through which people can affect public policy. I conclude that e-government has been used as a modem means to rework authoritarianism. People suffer from a 'democratic deficit' in their understanding and use of e-government. The effects of e-governance have been constrained by the legacy of authoritarianism and the public's democratic deficit. Therefore, in the new democracies, the prospects of electronic democracy should not be overestimated. E-government may be over-rated as a weapon for consolidating democracy
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