The Chinese mainland introduced a package of preferential policies on Sunday in the areas of the economy, science, culture and education to strengthen ties with Taiwan.
Four banking institutions from the mainland — including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank and China Development Bank — will offer a credit of 600 billion yuan (about 95 billion U.S. dollars) to Taiwanese-invested businesses in the mainland, announced Wang Yi, director of the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office.
The mainland will also open the door to import rice from Taiwan, Wang said at the fourth Straits Forum in southeastern coastal city of Xiamen, in Fujian province.
The mainland’s National Tourism Bureau will take measures to realize the target of 1.8 million Taiwan-bound tourists this year.
Residents in another 11 cities in the neighboring Jiangxi, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces west of the Taiwan Strait will be allowed to visit Taiwan’s Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu islands as independent tourists, in addition to the nine cities in Fujian.
The mainland’s public security authority will lengthen the validity of Taiwan residents’ entry permit to the mainland from one year to two years, making it more convenient for them to stay in the mainland.
Taiwan residents can apply for the mainland entry permit at the airports of Nanning, capital of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and Wuxi, a city in Jiangsu province from June 20. They will be able to apply for the permit in Changchun, capital of Jilin province by the end of this year, taking the number of entry permit application points to 31 from 28.
To deepen scientific cooperation, the National Natural Science Foundation of China will launch a “union fund of promoting scientific cooperation across the strait” with Fujian province, according to Wang.
All natural science research programs across the strait can apply for money from the fund, which will have an annual investment of 30 million yuan, he said.
It is expected that more Taiwan residents will work in mainland companies and public institutions as a result of preferential employment policies also announced on Sunday at the forum.
Taiwanese students who graduate from the mainland’s colleges, and other Taiwan residents, can enjoy the same rights to work in mainland businesses as their mainland compatriots, said Wang, adding that mainland businesses can employ the Taiwan residents by themselves.
Taiwan students who graduate from the mainland’s colleges, and other Taiwan residents, can be employed in public institutions through open recruitment in the new pilot regions of Tianjin, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Hubei in addition to the provinces of Fujian and Jiangsu, Wang added.
Under the new conditions, Taiwan residents who have got recognized credentials from the mainland’s educational authorities will have the right to work in mainland public institutions, including colleges and universities, cultural and medical institutions in the six provinces and municipalities.
The mainland’s employment service agencies will provide free consulting services for Taiwan residents, Wang explained.
The fourth Straits Forum, which opened on Saturday in Xiamen, facing Taiwan across the Taiwan Strait, runs until Friday.
Mainland-Taiwan relations entered a tense era after the Kuomintang (KMT) lost a civil war with the Communist Party of China and fled to Taiwan in the late 1940s.
But relations between the two warmed up after the KMT, led by a new generation of leaders, returned to power in the 2008 Taiwan election, ending eight years of rule by pro-secession Chen Shui-bian of the Democratic Progressive Party.