Taiwan’s DPP urged to ease restrictions on Ferry services

BEIJING: Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party has been urged to remove its travel restrictions on passenger ferry services between the Chinese mainland and Kinmen and Matsu, which are administered by Taiwan.
The DPP announced recently that ferry services between the coastal areas of East China’s Fujian province and the outlying islands will continue to operate. However, they will remain limited to Kinmen and Matsu residents.
Zhu Fenglian, a spokeswoman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said on Wednesday that the restrictions “have made it difficult for the ferry routes to play their role in cross-Straits exchanges”, adding it was “no wonder people on the island criticized them (the DPP) for ignoring public opinion”.
The ferry services were launched in 2001 as a way for people to travel across the Straits. The services were suspended by DPP authorities in February 2020 as part of COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control measures. However, they were allowed to resume temporarily last month to facilitate Spring Festival travel.
From Jan 7 to Monday, about 78 ferry services operated between two cities in Fujian and the outlying islands. A total of 5,170 passengers traveled between Xiamen and Kinmen and between the provincial capital, Fuzhou, and the Matsu islands over the period, according to official data.
During the Spring Festival holiday, many people traveled by ferry to reunite with their families. Li Han-chiang, a Kinmen resident, took a ferry from the island before Chinese New Year to visit his relatives in Fujian. Taking a ferry was also a cost-effective travel option, he said.
“It’s a common aspiration of Taiwan residents for the services to be restored to normal,” he said.
–The Daily Mail-China Daily news exchange item