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"Free landing" of Taiwanese on the mainland begins

Updated: 07 02 , 2015 09:47
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BEIJING -- Lu Yee-yen arrived at Xiamen City on the mainland on board the New Golden Dragon on Wednesday morning, thirty minutes after leaving Kinmen County, Taiwan.

She got off the ship and had entered the mainland in a minute, without producing any entry permit.

"So convenient, really great," She told Xinhua reporter, showing her travel pass booklet with a number of entry stamps. The unstamped pages of the booklet will remain blank forever.

July 1 is the first day that Taiwan's people can visit the mainland without an entry permit.

Revised entry regulations announced last month mean Taiwan residents no longer have to apply for a visa-like entry permit for every visit. It generally took a week to 10 days to obtain an entry permit valid for two years at a cost of 170 yuan (28 U.S. dollars) each time.

The new policy surprised Wang Tsou-yao who had spent several hundred yuan and 10 days waiting for a travel agency to secure his entry permit.

"I have many relatives in Fuzhou, and I can visit them often in the future," said Wang.

The mainland and Taiwan broke off communications in 1949, after the Kuomintang (KMT) lost a civil war with the Communist Party of China and fled to the island.

Cross-Strait travel resumed in the late 1980s and has increased rapidly since 2008 when the two sides opened direct mail, transport and trade links and eased restriction on tourism.

In 2014, Taiwan residents made 5.37 million visits to the mainland, up from 4.36 million in 2008. Mainlanders made 4.04 million visits to Taiwan last year, compared with 280,000 in 2008.

Lin Dai-sian who has lived in Shanghai for seven years will save money and much time preparing various documents including her employment contract and residential permit. She goes back to Taiwan to see her parents twice a year. Now, she can easily bring her parents to Shanghai.

"The new policy shows our care for Taiwan people and is a sincere attempt to serve and help them," mainland spokesman Ma Xiaoguang said earlier at a press conference.