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Xiamen encourages medical cooperation

By Sun Li and Hu Meidong (China Daily)
Updated: 2013-03-12 06:49

Xiamen, a coastal city in Fujian province, should serve as the pioneer in hosting wholly Taiwan-invested hospitals, a national legislator has suggested.

"The city could become an ideal way to raise cross-Straits medical cooperation to a new level," Chen Zixuan, vice-chairwoman of the Fujian committee of the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League, one of the eight non-Communist parties on the mainland, said on the sidelines of the ongoing annual session of the 12th National People's Congress.

Since the Western Taiwan Straits Economic Zone was formally created by the State Council in 2011 to accelerate trade with Taiwan, Xiamen has been the province's "initiator" in many areas related to promoting cross-Straits ties, Chen said.

Currently, there are around 4,000 Taiwan-funded enterprises in Xiamen and more than 100,000 Taiwan people are living in the city.

According to the Fujian committee of the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League, Taiwan people prefer hospitals with a Taiwan background for treatment.

The city has experience in Taiwan-invested hospital services and management, Chen said, as it hosted the province's first mainland-Taiwan jointly funded hospital, Xiamen Chang Gung Hospital, which was established in 2008.

The committee also pointed out that the growing demand for high-end medical services shows the huge potential of the mainland's medical services market.

Taiwan investors are permitted to set up wholly owned hospitals in Fujian, Jiangsu, Guangdong and Hainan provinces, and Shanghai.

Shanghai Landseed International Hospital, the only wholly Taiwan-invested hospital on the mainland, opened for business in Shanghai on June 26.

According to the Ministry of Health, 22 Taiwan-funded hospitals, all joint ventures, had started operation on the mainland by the end of 2011.

Partially due to the high bar set by the ministry, which states that wholly Taiwan-invested hospitals should have a total investment of at least 20 million yuan ($3.2 million), most Taiwan-funded medical establishments on the mainland are still joint ventures, Chen said.

In that case, the health authorities should lower the requirements on total investment, Chen suggested.

Chen said procedures and policies for Taiwan doctors applying to practice on the mainland should be simplified.

"Taiwan medical practitioners' certificates should be examined every five years, rather than annually," she added.

Fujian Governor Su Shulin said recently that deepening cross-Straits ties, including strengthening medical cooperation, will remain high on the government's agenda over the next five years.

Chen Qiuli, director of Fujian's health department, said establishing wholly Taiwan-invested hospitals could help avoid the disputes that sometimes occur in joint ventures concerning investment in equipment and management.

He pledged to offer Taiwan investors preferential policies on issues such as land for construction, tax and insurance.

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