PRC to re­move visa rule for Tai­wanese

MAC tak­ing a ‘wait and see’ ap­proach to per­mit ex­emp­tion

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE -

The Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China (PRC) will re­move en­try per­mit re­quire­ments for Tai­wan na­tion­als, as top po­lit­i­cal ad­vi­sor Yu Zheng­sheng ( ) vowed to boost ex­changes across the Tai­wan Strait yes­ter­day.

Yu, chair­man of the Na­tional Com­mit­tee of the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence, an­nounced the plan dur­ing a speech at the sev­enth Straits Fo­rum, the largest an­nual event for cross-strait ex­changes, in Xi­a­men in the south­east­ern prov­ince of Fu­jian.

Cur­rently, Tai­wanese na­tion­als must ap­ply for a visa-like en­try per­mit to visit China.

The “Taibaozheng” ( ), a pass­port-like doc­u­ment that car­ries the en­try per­mits for “Taibao,” or “Tai­wan com­pa­tri­ots,” will also be made into a card, Yu said. The doc­u­ment also serves as iden­ti­fi­ca­tion dur­ing a Tai­wan na­tional’s stay in China.

The plan to of­fer the per­mit­free pol­icy was an­nounced as Yu promised to cre­ate bet­ter con­di­tions for cross-strait ex­changes.

“We’ll con­tinue to ex­pand peo­ple- to- peo­ple ex­changes across the strait and en­gage more Tai­wan com­pa­tri­ots in the trend of cross- strait in­ter­ac­tion,” Yu said.

“Cross-strait ex­change is in­deed the com­mu­ni­ca­tion among peo­ple, and the heart-to-heart com­mu­ni­ca­tion is the most im­por­tant,” Yu said.

Of­fi­cial

statis­tics show that in 2014 Tai­wan res­i­dents made 5.37 mil­lion vis­its to China, up from 4.36 mil­lion in 2008. Chi­nese tourists made 4.04 mil­lion vis­its to Tai­wan last year, com­pared with 280,000 in 2008.

‘Prob­lems in cur­rent

com­mu­ni­ca­tion’

De­spite deep­en­ing re­la­tions be­tween Tai­wan and China, Yu noted, the is­land’s “sep­a­ratist force” is still the big­gest ob­sta­cle that hin­ders the peace­ful devel­op­ment of cross-strait ties.

“We’ll con­sis­tently sup­port ex­changes among com­pa­tri­ots of the two sides and firmly op­pose the sep­a­ratist forces’ ob­struc­tive in­tent to the peace­ful devel­op­ment of the re­la­tions,” he said.

Yu ac­knowl­edged prob­lems in cur­rent com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

“It’s com­mon that peo­ple across the strait have dif­fer­ent per­cep­tions over some is­sues, given dif­fer­ent his­tor­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ences they have en­coun­tered, and dif­fer­ent so­cial and po­lit­i­cal sys­tems they live un­der,” he said.

‘Not yet de­tailed’

Asked about the pro­gram, Hsu Shu-ling ( ), con­vener of the main­land travel com­mit­tee un­der the Travel Agent As­so­ci­a­tion of the Repub­lic of China, said that it is now im­pos­si­ble to as­sess the benefits of the planned visaex­emp­tion pro­gram be­cause Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties have not yet de­tailed how they will carry it out.

How­ever, such an en­try per­mit ex­emp­tion “is al­ways con­ve­nient and will help save money that would oth­er­wise have been spent on ac­quir­ing such a per­mit," Hsu said.

Cur­rently, the cost for an en­try per­mit upon ar­rival in China is 50 yuan (US$8), and the fee for such a travel per­mit ap­plied for from Tai­wan is NT$300 (US$9.70).

Mean­while, the Main­land Af­fairs Coun­cil (MAC), Tai­wan's top main­land pol­icy-plan­ning body, said from Taipei that it will try to ac­quire more in­for­ma­tion on the is­sue.

Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties have not pub­li­cized any de­tails of the pro­posed priv­i­leged treat­ment for Tai­wanese trav­el­ers, ac­cord­ing to the MAC.

CNA

This file photo shows a “taibaozheng,” a pass­port-like doc­u­ment is­sued by the PRC for Tai­wanese cit­i­zens. Cur­rently, Tai­wanese cit­i­zens need to ap­ply for the per­mit be­fore trav­el­ing across the Tai­wan Strait. China will lift the re­quire­ment as part of a wider plan to re­duce bar­ri­ers, state me­dia re­ported yes­ter­day.

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