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Taiwan residents welcome relaxation on entry-permit requirements

Updated: 06 18 , 2015 08:59
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Mainland authorities have revealed plans to lift entry-permit requirements for people from Taiwan travelling to the mainland, in a bid to boost exchanges across the Taiwan Straits.

The pronouncement has been made by lead political advisor Yu Zhengsheng during a speech to a cross-Straits forum in the city of Xiamen in Fujian.

"We are going to provide better conditions for cross-Straits exchanges. At some point we will lift the entry-permit requirements and issue a special card to allow easier access to the mainland for our Taiwan compatriots. I also hope the two sides can carry out more exchanges and communication activities, especially in grassroots areas."

Fu Chia-Hsien is a Taiwan businessman who has been commuting across the Straits for over ten years, and he speaks highly of the new policy.

"It's a very good thing, really great. Since cross-straits relations are getting better and better, we want to regard the mainland as our home in the future."

At present, Taiwan residents need to apply for a visa-like entry permit in order to visit the mainland.

Speaking of his own experience several years ago, a representative at the forum, Lu Ting-Hua, says that the card will definitely facilitate travel.

"I remember a few years ago the bullet train to Shanghai was launched and I worked in Shanghai. But I couldn't get my ticket to Shanghai issued because the railway station staff had trouble in inputting my ID number on the entry-permit to the bullet train ticket system. Now there's a specially designed solution for us. In the near future, with the official card, it will make things much easier for those who come here to study, work, tour or reside."

Cross-Straits exchanges became widely possible after 2008 when the two sides opened direct mail, transport, and trade links.

Official statistics show Taiwan residents made 5.3 million visits to the mainland in 2014, a 20 percent increase from 2008.

Mainlanders made over 4 million visits to Taiwan last year, compared with just 280-thousand in 2008.

Wang Cho-chung, editor-in-chief of Want Daily based in Taiwan, has expressed his confidence in exchanges and cooperation between the two sides.

"If we are exempted from needing travel permits to come to the mainland, it means we can come at any time we want. Actually that is a very critical step to show that the two sides across the straits are one family. Through this new policy, the two sides can embrace business and personal exchanges in the future."

Experts say the new policy is expected to attract more and more young people from Taiwan to pursue careers on the mainland.

A poll from the island earlier this year indicated about one third of Taiwan residents aged between 20 and 29 are interested in working on the mainland.