China offer of visa-free treatment needs further assessment: MAC
China’s offer of visa-free treatment for Taiwanese travelers is not yet clear and more time is needed to assess the matter, Taiwan’s top China policy charter said Wednesday.
Hsia Li-yan ( ), minister of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), was responding to a recent offer by China when he attended an international forum in Taipei on the challenges facing China.
Yu Zhengsheng (
), chair- man of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s top political advisory body, announced June 14 a plan to exempt Taiwanese people from the need for travel permits when they want to visit China, to streamline the existing required travel procedures.
Furthermore, the form of the existing Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan residents, commonly referred to as the Taiwan Compatriot Permit ( ), will also be changed from a booklet to a card “at an appropriate time,” Yu reportedly said.
Hsia said visa-free treatment will give convenience to Taiwanese students studying in China or businessmen doing business there, but added that the MAC will have to learn more about the card before it is offered to Taiwanese travelers.
As Hong Kong and Macau residents also use cards to travel in and out of China, some have questioned if it is an attempt to turn Taiwanese into “Chinese citizens.”
Hsia said the MAC will have to see if the card is simply a replacement for the present travel permit booklet or whether it has other functions or intentions.
On Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu’s ( ) advocacy of signing a cross-strait peace agreement with China during her presidential campaign presentation, Hsia said only that he will respect the views of all the presidential candidates.