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Friday, August 02, 2019, 09:25
Secessionist activity behind solo travel ban
By Zhang Yi
Friday, August 02, 2019, 09:25 By Zhang Yi

This undated photo shows a view of Taipei 101. (PHOTO / VCG)

Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, said on Thursday that it is the island's ruling Democratic Progressive Party's "Taiwan independence" secessionist activities that led to the suspension of individual travel permits to Taiwan from the Chinese mainland.

The DPP has been promoting "Taiwan independence" activities, constantly fomenting hostility toward the mainland and creating confrontation across the Straits, Ma said. "They destroyed the foundation and conditions for individual travel."

The DPP "destroyed the foundation and conditions for individual travel"

Ma Xiaoguang, Spokesman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office

He made the remarks in response to the announcement on Wednesday by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism that travel permits to Taiwan by individuals from the mainland will be suspended starting Thursday due to the current climate of cross-Straits relations.

READ MORE: Mainland to suspend individual tours to Taiwan from 47 cities

Mainland travelers who wish to visit Taiwan must now join tour groups.

Individual travel to Taiwan was first permitted on a trial basis in June 2011 for travelers from the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen, Fujian province. This was expanded to 47 cities, including Tianjin, Chongqing and Nanjing, Jiangsu province, over the following three years.

"The launch of individual travel permits in 2011 was a positive measure to expand exchanges across the Straits in the climate of the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations," Ma said.

For years, mainland residents visiting Taiwan played a positive role in promoting the development of Taiwan's tourism and related industries, he said.

"I believe that compatriots on both sides hope that cross-Straits relations return to the right track of peaceful development and that mainland residents' travels to Taiwan will resume normal and healthy development as soon as possible," he added.

ALSO READ: Taiwan urged to make changes

Zhang Wensheng, a politics professor at Xiamen University, said the main cause of the suspension is the island's leader Tsai Ing-wen and her administration's hostility toward the mainland, and the resulting damage this has done to cross-Straits relations.

The number of mainland tourists to Taiwan is expected to drop in the following half year, and tourism and related industries in Taiwan will be affected, he said.

The number of mainland travelers to Taiwan fell in 2017 to about 2.7 million, from 3.5 million in 2016, according to the 2019 Green Book of China's Tourism by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

zhangyi1@chinadaily.com.cn


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