Mainland mulls equal benefits for Taiwan people

2017-02-07 00:27:49 GMT2017-02-07 08:27:49(Beijing Time) Global Times

The Chinese mainland plans to provide Taiwan residents equal treatment, a move experts said is aimed at attracting Taiwan people under the complex cross-Straits situation and pressure Taiwan leaders who continue to refuse to recognize the one-China principle.

Beijing is mapping out new policies to provide Taiwan residents with "national treatment" in order to help them integrate into the mainland society, Hong Kong-based newspaper Ming Pao reported on Thursday.

"To be specific, the policy is aimed at treating Taiwan people the same as local residents. It is different from 'national treatment' that refers to preferential policies for foreign entities under the framework of the World Trade Organization," Wang Jianmin, a Taiwan affairs expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday.

Wang said Taiwan people are required to abide by the same policies as foreigners in the past due to political differences on the two sides. The new policy will make it easier for them to live and blend in the mainland.

Liu Xiangping, head of Institute of Taiwan Studies at Nanjing University, said that "the new policy will help deepen Taiwan residents' understanding of the one-China policy, laying out a basis for the reunification of the country, as well as crack down on Taiwan-independent forces."

Liu stressed that relations across the Taiwan Straits have been affected as current Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen refuses to recognize the 1992 consensus, which affirms the one-China principle.

"The move is meant to take better care of Taiwan people under the complex situation, and reflects the mainland's disappointment with the Taiwan leader," Liu said.

The policy follows an annual meeting last month of central and local officials in charge of Taiwan-related affairs.

Efforts will be made to continue unofficial exchanges and cooperation, promote economic and social integration, as well as to let the public better participate in and benefit from cross-Straits exchanges, the Xinhua News agency reported, citing a statement issued after the meeting.

More policies will be adopted to help Taiwan residents study, work, start a business and live in the mainland, and to support Taiwanese companies, the statement said.

Luring Taiwan people East China's Fujian Province issued a regulation in 2010 to protect Taiwan people, including them in the social insurance system and giving their children priority at schools.

Fujian is 260 kilometers away from Taiwan. Trade between Fujian and Taiwan reached 69.5 billion yuan ($10 billion) in 2015, an increase of 10.3 percent from 2014, Xinhua reported.

Hsueh Ching-de, a Taiwan businessman who has been investing for over a decade in Pingtan, Fujian told the Global Times that his children have a choice of schools, while local children could only enter schools in the district where they live.

Shanghai included Taiwan people into its medical system in 2015, which states that Taiwan people who work in the city and their families can receive the same medical services as Shanghai residents, local news portal reported.

However, Liu said that the mainland is not likely to include Taiwan people in the national medical system before it completes its own medical system reform, not to mention the gap between the two sides in healthcare. 

Hong Kong-based Ming Pao Daily reported that new policies raised hopes that Taiwan people might be included in civil servant recruitment.

Taiwan authorities warned that it was illegal for Taiwan people to hold a post in the Communist Party of China, military or administrative institutions in the mainland, reported.

Better impressionKevin Hwang, a 20-year-old Taiwan student at Peking University, told the Global Times on Monday that he was looking forward to buying student train tickets - which are up to 50 percent off - as mainland students do someday.

"I do not have the magnetic stripe that mainland students have on their student certificate," Kevin said.

Kevin added that the new policy would improve Taiwan people's impression of the mainland, which had been affected by the recent chilling of cross-Straits relations.  

To You Wen-han, another 27-year-old Taiwan student at Peking University, who spent four months traveling in the mainland by motorbike in 2016, the biggest problem is getting accommodations.

"Taiwan people are required to live in upscale hotels for foreigners. Not many students can afford them," You said.

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