China further relaxed rules on individual travel to Hong Kong Wednesday, allowing residents of Shenzhen City, southern Guangdong Province easier entry to the neighboring special administrative region.
The change means the 2.32 million residents of Shenzhen can apply for a one-year multiple-entry permit, with a maximum stay per trip of seven days.
Hong Kong travel permits for those who live elsewhere in China only allow one or two entries within a three-month validity period.
The entry-exit administration department in Shenzhen opened 68 service windows to cope with anticipated demand for new permits.
Yuan Ping, deputy head of the Pearl River Delta Research Center of the Sun Yat-Sen University, said Shenzhen's new travel policy would speed up the integration of Guangdong and Hong Kong.
The Immigration Department of Hong Kong has forecast that the coming Tomb-Sweeping Festival and Easter holiday from April 3 to 10 would mean a heavy flow of mainland travelers to Hong Kong.
(Xinhua News Agency April 1, 2009)