Cross-Strait Relations: Chinese mainland suspends individual travel permits to Taiwan
Since August 1st, the Chinese mainland has stopped issuing individual travel permits to Taiwan for residents from 47 cities. The government's Taiwan Affairs Office says the decision was made in light of current cross-Strait relations. CGTN's Xu Mengqi has more.
Type in Taipei, and recommendations for individual travel routes are no longer an option. This travel agency in Shanghai shows just one example of how the Chinese Mainland's latest policy on Taiwan is being implemented.
XU MENGQI SHANGHAI "For mainland residents, individual travel to Taiwan started as a pilot program in 2011 and 47 cities were able to issue permits. But on August 1st, the service was suspended, and according to the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, it was because the island's governing party was promoting independence and inciting hostility toward the Mainland."
Taiwan received some 2.7 million visits by Mainland tourists last year and the new policy is expected to deal a blow to its tourism industry.
ZHOU WEIHONG DEPUTY GENERAL MANAGER, SPRING TOUR "Because worldwide Taiwan's tourism resources are easily replaceable and there are other places to choose from, I think some of our customers will switch to other destinations."
But for some, the news is hard to take.
21-year-old university student Li Hui has been together with her boyfriend from Taiwan for almost half a year.
Upon learning about the new policy, she rushed to apply for an individual travel permit one last time.
LI HUI UNIVERSITY STUDENT "I was very shocked at the time, and then I started feeling sad, when I thought of how much more difficult it would be to visit him in Taiwan."
Li's boyfriend had come to the Mainland for study and plans to develop his career here. That, for the couple, gives some hope for the future.
LI HUI UNIVERSITY STUDENT "He's been comforting me all along, saying if I can't go visit him he can come visit me."
Since Taiwan lifted a ban against travel to the Chinese mainland in 1987, nearly 400-thousand cross-Strait marriages have been registered on the Mainland side.
Li Hui and her boyfriend say they understand politics may make things harder for them, but their relationship will not be shaken easily.