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Mainland, Taiwan Exchanges on the Rise
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Official with the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council revealed on Wednesday that people traveling between Chinese mainland and Taiwan have reached 2.3 million person-times in the first six months.

Dai Xiaofeng, director of communication bureau of the office, told Xinhua that admission to the mainland from Taiwan have accounted for 2.2 million person-times, an increase of 5.4 percent year-on-year.

Mainland citizen's entry to the island has also reached a year-on-year increase of 10.7 percent with 1.01 million person-times, Dai added.

According to an accumulative statistic of the office, entries to the both sides across the Taiwan Straits have achieved increase in consecutive four years since SARS crisis in 2003.

The director said the mainland hoped Taiwan authority could permit tourism entry for mainland citizens to the island as soon as possible.

"Compatriots on both sides are eager to realize tourism entry to Taiwan," he said, noting that tourism guilds on both sides have hold five consultations since last year to discuss details of tourism to Taiwan.

Closer communication across the strait have allowed people on both sides to make more progress by cooperation in education, cultural exchange, technology, health, religion and other fields.

Nearly one hundred mainland colleges and universities have signed cooperative contracts with Taiwan educational partners, students in Taiwan have shown more interests to apply for mainland colleges.

Health authorities of the mainland and Taiwan have exchanged information on epidemic situations for 23 times since disease control departments of the both sides established a communicating channel last year.

Moreover, the mainland has established 54 measures favorable to Taiwan in cross-strait communication in education, entry and other citizen treatment since 2005, said Dai.

Ministry of Public Security increased three entry ports in the mainland for Taiwan citizen's entry and Ministry of Personnel allowed Taiwan citizens to apply for 15 professional qualifying examinations at the end of April.

"Since citizens on both sides have more and more contacts, the mainland is trying to meet the needs of Taiwan compatriots to have mainland citizen treatment," Dai said.

According to statistic from the mainland, there have been 270,000 cross-strait marriage couples. However, spouses coming from the mainland have encountered with limited working rights by discriminated regulations in Taiwan.

To facilitate Taiwan student's study in mainland universities and colleges, the Ministry of Education has unilaterally recognized diploma and certificate issued by educational institutes in Taiwan and equalize the tuition fees among mainland and Taiwan students.

The mainland and Taiwan have also made progress in cooperation of cracking down on crimes in which mainland police forces have repatriated more than 10 Taiwan suspects to the island.

(Xinhua News Agency September 6, 2007)

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