Sat, Sep 25, 2004 - Page 4 News List

MAC upbeat on China's decision to lift travel ban

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER

In response to an announcement yesterday that China will allow some tourists to travel to Kinmen and Matsu, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) officials reaffirmed their intent to allow such tourism, saying they had long been waiting for China to come around.

China's Fujian Province Deputy Governor Wang Mei-xiang (王美香) announced in a press conference yesterday evening that she would lift restrictions barring Chinese tourists from traveling from the province directly to Taiwan's islands of Kinmen and Matsu.

"We've been waiting for them for almost four years now," the MAC's Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) said yesterday, explaining that Taiwan had opened the door to Chinese tourists to visit Kinmen and Matsu when the "small three links" were implemented in January 2001.

"All the supplementary policies and details necessary for Chinese tourism to Kinmen and Matsu were worked out four years ago," Chiu explained. "But because China did not allow its citizens to tour Kinmen and Matsu, the policies were never implemented."

According to the stipulations set out in Taiwan's Provisional Implementation of the small three links, Chinese tourists' stay in Kinmen and Matsu are limited to three days and two nights. In addition, the number of tourists visiting each day is capped at 600 for Kinmen and 80 for Matsu.

The figures do not include Chinese citizens traveling to Kinmen or Matsu via the "small three links" on business. The small three links allow for direct trade, postal and shipping channels between Kinmen and Matsu and China.

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