Entry permit regulation lifted for Taiwan visitors

Updated: 2015-06-15 07:44

By Sun Li and Hu Meidong in Xiamen, Fujian(China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

Move designed to increase exchanges, says CPPCC leader

The Chinese mainland plans to remove the entry permit requirement for Taiwan residents, according to an announcement made on Sunday at the seventh Straits Forum in Xiamen, Fujian province.

The mainland will further facilitate cross-Straits exchanges with new preferential policies including permit-free entry, top political adviser Yu Zhengsheng said.

Yu, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks in a keynote speech at the opening of the forum, scheduled to continue until Saturday.

Currently, Taiwan residents wishing to visit the mainland must apply for an entry permit. The passport-like document that carries the permits and serves as proof of identity will be replaced by a card, Yu said.

Wang Chi-ren, a businessman from Taipei, said the policy change has gone viral on the Internet and almost all his friends in Taiwan have forwarded him the news via WeChat.

"Lifting the entry permit requirement and making the document a card means Taiwan people won't need to get the document stamped when visiting the mainland," he said.

"If someone from Taiwan visits the mainland frequently, the document soon fills up with stamps and he has to renew it. This won't be a problem anymore."

The move was also welcomed by Kuo Yaw-ching, a 66-year-old resident of Ilan in Taiwan, who said the policy is a "highly friendly gesture" that will make it much easier for Taiwan people to travel to the mainland.

"People, especially the elderly, like me, hate to go through the permit application or renewal procedure," Kuo said. "I always pay a tourism agency to handle it, and this costs me 100 yuan ($16).

"Now I won't need to pay that money and will be able to pass through the checks with the mainland's exit and entry administration staff more quickly. The policy may result in a surge of Taiwan tourists to the mainland."

Dai Shugeng, a professor of economics at Xiamen University, said the policy change marks a new page in the development of cross-Straits relations.

"Many Taiwan people have come to the mainland for business and leisure over the years. The new policy will allow more Taiwan residents to understand the life and culture of the mainland," Dai said.

Official statistics show that people from Taiwan made 4.36 million visits to the mainland in 2008, and in the same year people from the mainland made 280,000 visits to Taiwan. In 2014, about 5.37 million Taiwan people traveled to the mainland, while 4.04 million mainland tourists traveled to Taiwan.

Contact the writer at sunli@chinadaily.com.cn