People's Daily, the mouthpiece of Communist Party of China, carried a commentary Wednesday calling for equal treatment to the mainland spouses in Taiwan families.
The article, written by Mu Ming, welcomed the Taiwan authority's announcement on Friday that it will lift some restrictions on employment, application for ID cards and heritage for over 260,000 mainland spouses of Taiwan residents.
Among the six restrictive rules to be lifted were that mainland spouses could not work until they lived on the island for six years nor inherit a legacy worth more than 2 million New Taiwan dollars.
Their stay in Taiwan before being eligible to apply for an ID card will be cut from eight years to six.
The Taiwan authority has removed two administrative restrictions but a law must be amended to lift the remaining four rules.
Lai Shin-yuan, the department chief, said on Friday that her department will request the "Executive Yuan" to hand the bill of amendment to the "Legislative Yuan" soon and pledged to push forward the work.
"Actually it is in line with Taiwan's interests to lift discrimination over mainland spouses," the People's Daily article wrote.
It called on the Taiwan side to make further progress on this field.
"They accounted for 3.9 percent of the total number of Taiwan families if we calculated it based on a total population of 2.3 million and 3.5 persons per family," the writer said.
"Will a family be happy if one of the couple suffer discrimination? Will the whole Taiwan society be happy if such a high percentage of families faces troubles?"
Taiwan boasted its diversified culture and society, the core of which was tolerance to minorities, it wrote. "To treat mainland spouses equally is not a charity but must-be for a diversified Taiwan."
Taiwan spouses on the mainland face little restriction on employment except for some professionals such as doctors, lawyers and accountants, who need certificates. But they are eligible to apply for an ID card after having been married to mainland residents for at least three years.
(Xinhua News Agency November 26, 2008)