China Announces Individual Citizens No Longer Able to Visit Taiwan with Travel Permits; Relationship Between Two Continues to Sour

  • China has announced that it will cease issuing individual travel permits to Taiwan to step up pressure against the territory “due to current cross-strait relations.”
  • The decision will take effect on Thursday and, since 2011, “solo travelers from 47 cities – including Beijing and Shanghai – have been able to visit” Taiwan. Travel groups are an exception to the ban.
  • Since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016, the relationship between China and Taiwan has soured since as a “self-ruled democratic island,” Tsai’s administration doesn’t acknowledge that Taiwan is “part of one China.”
  • In return, China has “cut official communications, ramped up military exercises, poached diplomatic allies and ratcheted up economic pressure on the island.”
  • Robert Kao, a member of Taiwan’s Travel Agent Association, said the number of visitors would decrease by 700,000 through the end of the year.
  • This latest move comes on the heels of Taiwan’s next presidential election in January where China-friendly Han Kuo-yu, a candidate from the opposition party, hopes to defeat Tsai.
  • Under Taiwan’s former administration, travel restrictions were eased and the relationship between Taiwan and China was stronger.
  • According to reports, “relations have since cooled and Beijing introduced restrictions on tour group numbers in 2016,” which was the year former president Ma Ying-jeou was defeated by an independent-leaning Tsai.
  • While China has advocated that Taiwan “be governed under a one country, two systems” structure similar to Hong Kong,” Tsai has resisted and “argued that civil unrest in Hong Kong shows this model to be a failure.”
  • Also this week, “Taiwan held two days of live-fire military drills, coinciding with Chinese military exercises off the mainland coast facing the island.”

Reference Links

  • TIME: China Bans Citizens From Traveling to Taiwan as Individual Tourists READ
  • BBC: China to stop issuing individual travel permits to Taiwan READ
  • YAHOO!: China halts individual travel to Taiwan READ
  • Bloomberg: China Imposes Taiwan Travel Ban in Warning Shot to President READ

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