22 Jun '11, 7am

Taiwan lifts historic ban on Chinese solo tourists

TAIPEI: Taiwan on Wednesday lifted a decades-old ban on travel to the island by individual Chinese tourists, saying visitors would act as "peace ambassadors" for the former arch foe. The first batch of independent mainland tourists, from Beijing, Shanghai and the city of Xiamen on the southeast coast, were expected to arrive next Tuesday, local media reported. Travel between the island and mainland stopped at the end of the civil war in 1949, and mainland tourists have so far only been allowed to visit Taiwan in groups due to official concerns they might otherwise overstay their visas and work illegally. Initially, Taiwan will allow 500 individual arrivals from the mainland per day, who it hopes will help maintain peace across the Strait. "The Chinese tourists will all be peace ambassadors," Maa Shaw-chang, deputy secretary-general to the quasi-official Straits Exchange Fo...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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