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New entry permit rule for Taiwan residents starts July 1

By Sun Li and Hu Meidong in Fu Zhou | China Daily | Updated: 2015-06-19 07:48

The Chinese mainland authorities will remove the entry permit requirement for Taiwan residents beginning July 1, according to a revised regulation released by the State Council on Thursday.

Taiwan residents will only need a travel pass to enter the mainland and will no longer have to apply for an entry permit for each visit, the revision said.

Plans to lift the entry permit requirement were announced on Sunday by a high-ranking official, Yu Zhengsheng, in a keynote speech at the Straits Forum in Xiamen, Fujian province.

Yu, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said the mainland will further facilitate cross-Straits exchanges with new preferential policies including permit-free entry.

The Taibaozheng, a passport-like document that is currently used to carry the entry permits for Taibao, or Taiwan compatriots, will be converted into a card, Yu said.

The Ministry of Public Security said on Thursday that a digital version of the document will be available by the end of the year.

The previous regulation, released in 1992, says Taiwan residents traveling to the mainland to see friends and relatives, deal with properties or attend weddings or funerals must provide documentary proof of the purpose of the visit.

To visit the mainland for academic, business, cultural and educational events, they had to produce an invitation sent by an organization or agency on the mainland. The revised regulation removes the need for such documents.

The validity of travel passes to Taiwan held by mainland residents will be extended from five years to 10, while passes for Taiwan residents will continue to be valid for five years.

However, a new type of travel pass for Taiwan residents, valid for three months, is to be introduced.

Chang Jieh-ren, a college teacher in Ilan, Taiwan, said the changes will provide greater convenience for Taiwan residents as the application procedure for the travel pass is much simpler than the current arrangements.

Dai Shugen, a professor of economics at Xiamen University, said the policy change will enhance cross-Straits relations.

"The revision will make it easier for Taiwan residents to work, travel and live on the mainland, and will make people from both sides of the Straits feel emotionally closer to each other," Dai said.

Official statistics show that people from Taiwan made about 5.37 million visits to the mainland in 2014, and 4.04 million mainland tourists traveled to Taiwan.

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