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Mainland to lift entry permits for Taiwan residents

Xinhua, June 18, 2015 Adjust font size:

The Chinese mainland will remove entry permit requirements for Taiwan residents from July 1, according to a revised regulation made public Thursday.

With the revision, Taiwan residents will need a travel pass for entering the mainland but do not have to apply for a visa-like entry permit for every visit.

The policy change was announced by Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, at the seventh Straits Forum on Sunday as a measure to facilitate cross-Strait personnel exchange.

The revision also eases the requirements for documents needed when Taiwan residents apply for the travel pass.

The term of validity for a travel pass to Taiwan held by a mainland resident was extended from five years to ten, while that for a Taiwan resident remains five years.

But the revised regulation adds a new type of pass for Taiwan residents, with the term of validity lasting for three months.

Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman with the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said in a press release that the mainland expects the new measure to benefit cross-Strait exchanges and pull people from both sides closer.

"The new policy shows our care for Taiwan people's welfare and sincere attempt to serve and help them," Ma said.

The mainland and Taiwan broke off communication in 1949, after the Kuomintang (KMT) lost a civil war with the Communist Party of China and fled to the island.

Cross-Strait travels resumed in the late 1980s and have increased rapidly since 2008 when the two sides opened direct mail, transport and trade links and eased restriction on tourism.

Official statistics show in 2014, Taiwan residents made 5.37 million visits to the mainland, up from 4.36 million in 2008. Mainlanders made 4.04 million visits to Taiwan last year, compared with 280,000 in 2008.