China eliminates work permits in latest appeal to Taiwanese

BEIJING — Beijing on Wednesday said it has eliminated the need for Taiwanese citizens to apply for permission to work in China, in its latest effort to woo the island's skilled younger workers amid a diplomatic freeze.

The move is part of a package that aims to provide Taiwanese with treatment equal to that of Chinese in studying, starting businesses and employment, said the spokesman for the Cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office, Ma Xiaoguang.

The elimination of work permits was also extended to residents of Hong Kong and Macau, former British and Portuguese colonies that reverted to Chinese rule late last century. China is also anxious to win over young Hong Kongers, many of whom see their city being dominated by the mainland economy while its civil liberties are under increasing threat.

China hopes such measures will undercut support for the self-governing Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, whom Beijing loathes for her refusal to endorse the notion that Taiwan is a part of China.

Beijing already offers preferential terms for talented young people from the high-tech island to work in cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, including reduced regulations and much larger potential markets than those available in Taiwan.

That's the carrot to Beijing's stick of ratcheting up Taiwan's diplomatic isolation and advertising its threat to invade the island to bring it under Chinese rule.

Over recent weeks, China has forced international airlines to stop referring to Taiwan as a separate country on their websites. It also allegedly prompted the Asian Olympic Committee to withdraw the island's right to host a youth competition scheduled for next year in the central city of Taichung.

Taiwan is already excluded from the United Nations and other major international organizations, and China has been steadily peeling away the self-governing island's dwindling number of diplomatic partners through economic inducements.

Meanwhile, Beijing has sent warplanes on patrols around the island and staged war games on its side of the Taiwan Strait.

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