|Starting next year, new reforms for entering and leaving China will help citizens travel abroad and allow foreigners to more easily invest and travel in China, public security officials said Wednesday.
For most Chinese, heading on trips abroad still sounds like an ordeal requiring them to go through complicated procedural redtape.
However, the icy situation was broken two years ago when Beijing, Shanghai and some other big cities decided to issue passports if citizens requested them..
Similar measures will be expanded to other regions,officials said at a meeting of the Entry-Exit Administration of the Ministry of Public Security that concluded today.
Next year will be a crucial year during which 80 per cent of country's large-and medium-sized cities, mainly in the central area, will adopt the measures, officials said.
During the past 11 months, a total of 201 million people left or entered the country, according to administration statistics.
With the aim of luring overseas capital, technology and personnel for additional economic and social development, ministry and other relevant departments will adopt a long-expected "Green Card'' system this year to grant permanent residence permits to foreigners working in China, officials said.
A senior ministry official, who asked to be unnamed,disclosed last week that regulations on granting permanent residence permits to foreigners have been mapped out and sent to the State Council for approval.
In February, 45 foreigners in Beijing, including senior advisers, researchers and managers as well as professionals from foreign-funded companies, got the country's first batch of long-term residence permits and multi-entry visas, which allow them three or five years' stay in China without the need to annual renewal or every six months as in the past, Xinhua reported.
"The permits and visas only serve as a transition toward permanent residence permits,'' said Zhang Yindi, deputy-director of the entry-exit administration, noting this was a great step forward compared with past policies.
What's more, such a system will help standardize public security bureaux's administration of foreigners and improve their management level, public officials said.
In the coming year, entry-and-exit administration officials will improve the issuance and management of credentials for inlanders to conduct short-term travel to Hong Kong and Macao.
Researchers at the ministry are doing studies, such as identifying technologies, to use automatic port passage systems at some Chinese major ports, officials said.
Lastly,administration departments on the Chinese mainland will further simplify procedures for Taiwan residents to enter and stay on the mainland.