China's mainland Friday pledged to offer more conveniences to Taiwan compatriots by facilitating their cross-Straits trip, study and employment on the mainland.
This is another gesture of affinity of easing tensions across the Taiwan Straits, following mainland's promises to present Taiwan a pair of giant pandas, lift the ban for the mainland residents to travel to the island and open its market wider to Taiwan's farm products.
Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said that the mainland will further facilitate the entry and exit of Taiwan compatriots to and from the mainland, cut tuition of students from Taiwan at mainland universities and ease job terms on Taiwan compatriots who are willing to work on the mainland.
The travel convenience will include three points. Firstly, to simplify the procedures of entry and exit of Taiwan compatriots to and from the mainland as well as their residence application, said Chen, also director of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office.
Those who stay in the mainland for more than one year can be issued residence stamps valid for one to five years.
Taiwan compatriots who have such residence stamps need no entry or exit stamps when they pass through mainland customs. Those who have short stays on the mainland can be granted multiple entries valid for one year.
Secondly, Fujian Provincial Public Security Department will be authorized to issue one-year-valid multiple entries to the compatriots from Jinmen, Mazu and Penghu.
Thirdly, The public security departments of Shanghai Municipality and Jiangsu Province will be authorized to reissue "Taiwan Compatriot's Pass to the Mainland" to those who have lost their documents or whose documents expired.
Chen said that tuition of students from Taiwan at mainland universities will be reduced to the equal level with that of their mainland counterparts.
"The education departments will also take efforts to set up a scholarship for university students from Taiwan within this year," he said, adding that the balance of the tuition and the actual cost of education will be subsidized by the state coffer.
The director called on the Taiwan authorities to recognize the schooling records of Taiwan students studying on the mainland as soon as possible to protect their legitimate rights and interests.
He said that the mainland will also modify relevant policies to facilitate the employment of Taiwan compatriots on the mainland.
"The labor departments are busily modifying relevant polices to ease job terms on Taiwan compatriots who are willing to work on the mainland," he said.
After the modification of the policies, Taiwan graduates from mainland universities will enjoy equal opportunity to work on the mainland with their mainland counterparts, he said.
The director said that the mainland will further open its employment market to all kinds of professionals from Taiwan and encourage Taiwan compatriots to attend vocational qualification exams in the mainland, and such examinations can also be carried out in Taiwan when conditions are" ripe."
"These moves are aimed to substantially solve the issues Taiwan compatriots are concerned about," he said of the fact that more and more Taiwan compatriots are coming to the mainland to work, study and live.
The announcement of offering conveniences came at the end of the nine-day visit to the mainland by James CY Soong, chairman of the People First Party (PFP) in Taiwan, who is heading a high-level delegation.
Soong and his delegation have previously toured Xi'an, Hunan, Nanjing, Shanghai and are scheduled to return to Taiwan Friday.
Calling his visit a "bridge-building journey", Soong said that he hoped his mainland visit could build "a bridge of mutual trust, communication and soul-linking" among the Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits.
Soong's visit closely followed that by Lien Chan, chairman of the Kuomintang Party (KMT) of China, the largest opposition party in Taiwan.
Opinion polls on both sides of the Straits indicated the visits by Lien and Soong had won the approval of the majority of people across the Straits.