PRC to remove visa rule for Taiwanese
MAC taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to permit exemption
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.
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
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.
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.