The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) is in talks with airlines and travel agencies to set up an online declaration system for travelers who are going to China.
"By law, every Taiwanese individual who plans to travel to China has to report their basic travel information to the Bureau of Immigration. However, in order to make it easy for travelers, we are hoping that airlines and travel agencies may help their customers do so through a computerized system that is hooked up with the bureau," Vice Minister of the Interior Lin Yung-chien (
Article 9 of the Act Governing Relations Between Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (
Lin said that this article was revised in October 2003. Originally, it stipulated that travelers should declare their travel information directly to the authorities.
"However, some lawmakers wanted to make the process more expedient for travelers; therefore, the article was revised," Lin said.
Since the revision, negotiations have been taking place among the bureau, travel agencies and airlines to find a convenient way to implement the law.
Travel agencies and airlines have expressed reservations toward the policy, however, citing the costs of installing a computer system and accountability issues, among others.
According to information released by the bureau, an online declaration system was finished on Feb. 1 and has been tested by several travel agencies.
Once the online declaration system becomes official, travel agencies or airlines that fail to abide by the regulation may face a fine of NT$10,000.
They will not, however, be held responsible for travelers who fail to declare their travel information that have entered China from other countries.
"This law seeks to protect Taiwanese travelers in case of emergencies during their visits to China," Lin said.
According to Lin, China claims that its official statistics show that around 3.5 million Taiwanese people enter China per year. However, the bureau's travel declarations indicate that approximately 500,000 Taiwanese travel to China per year.