Jia Qinglin (賈慶林), chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said yesterday that China will try to better grasp the needs of Taiwanese, especially those in small and medium-sized enterprises and in agriculture.
Jia made the remarks in a keynote speech at the fourth Cross-Taiwan Strait Forum being held in Xiamen. According to the event’s Web site, the forum, first held in 2009, is aimed at promoting exchanges of “the general public” and enhancing cooperation across the Taiwan Strait.
Jia said China will encourage more interaction between young people on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, will provide more incentives for Taiwanese students to study in China and will create a better employment environment for Taiwanese in China.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Deputy Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), in her speech at the main plenary session of the forum, said Taiwanese hope to feel respect and goodwill from China, rather than the lure of its growing competitiveness.
Hung, who is also a deputy legislative speaker, called for more understanding and warmth from China toward Taiwan, adding that while Taiwanese hope to see progress and development in China, respect from China is more important.
At the same meeting, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Wang Yi (王毅) said that China will also extend the validity of residence permits in China for Taiwanese from one year to two years.
In addition, Taiwanese professors will be given equal status in applying for work at Chinese universities after receiving “educational permits,” he said, while Taiwanese students graduating from Chinese universities will be allowed to seek public sector jobs in China.
China would also extend the validity of travel documents for Taiwanese people visiting China to two years starting on July 25, he said.
China will allow imports of Taiwanese rice and increase the number of tourist groups allowed to visit Taiwan, as well as expanding the scale of the Free Independent Traveler program for Chinese visitors to Taiwan, he added.
Meanwhile, he said the National Natural Science Foundation of China and Fujian Province will set up a cross-strait science and technology fund, which will receive 30 million yuan (US$4.7 million) each year, adding that cross-strait cultural exchanges will also be expanded.
He said the Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the China Construction Bank and the China Development Bank will offer 600 billion Chinese yuan in loans in the next three to four years to Taiwanese businesspeople seeking to expand in China.
Additional reporting by AFP