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China Focus: Evolution of entry permit for Taiwanese


09:29, December 19, 2012

BEIJING, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese mainland's first "Certificate for Taiwanese Travelers" was issued by Hong Kong-based China Travel Service to Chau Shun-Kuen in 1987.

With the certificate in hand, Chau, a Taiwan resident who had not been to her hometown in the city of Changzhou in east China's Jiangsu Province for four decades, traveled from Taiwan to Hong Kong and then flew to Shanghai, which is near Jiangsu, on Nov. 4, 1987.

The year 1987 marked the beginning of the thawing of relations between the mainland and Taiwan, as communication resumed across the Taiwan Strait with Taiwanese authorities allowing military veterans to return to their hometowns on the mainland.

More than 100 Taiwan residents obtained the certificate in two days and embarked on their trips home by sea, land and air via Hong Kong, according to a Xinhua News Agency report dated Nov. 4, 1987.

The move ended 38 years of estrangement between the mainland and Taiwan after 1949 when the Kuomintang (KMT), or Nationalist Party, led by Chiang Kai-shek, was defeated in a civil war and fled to the island.

KMT forces, soldiers and officers' families and other followers went to Taiwan, but due to a later cross-Strait face-off, they were not allowed to return home for decades.

In order to visit home, mainland-born Taiwanese had to travel via Hong Kong, Tokyo or another third city before heading for the mainland.

The "one-off" certificate had to be obtained 15 days before landing on the mainland, so it was not convenient in emergency situations, Lai Kam-Hung, a senior reporter with Taipei-based United Daily News, said while recalling using the certificate back then.

Still, holding a certificate also came with some special perks. With their foreign exchange credentials, they could buy home appliances and electronics like TV sets, washing machines, refrigerators and microwaves rarely seen in mainland households in the 1980s, or other import commodities such as Nike shoes or cigarettes.

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