Feature: Non-Chinese permanent Hong Kong residents jump at chance of smoother travel to mainland-Xinhua

Feature: Non-Chinese permanent Hong Kong residents jump at chance of smoother travel to mainland

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-07-11 00:54:15

HONG KONG, July 10 (Xinhua) -- Shaun Patrick Salter, 65, a retired Australian helicopter pilot who has lived in Hong Kong for 25 years, can't wait to receive a card that will allow him to sample different restaurants in the Chinese mainland every weekend.

"I also want to visit my wife's hometown Taishan City in Guangdong Province more often," Salter told Xinhua while he was applying for a travel permit to the mainland on Wednesday, the first day it is open for application to non-Chinese permanent residents of Hong Kong.

Holders of the permit will be allowed multiple entries into the mainland within a five-year validity period, with each stay not exceeding 90 days. After completing procedures such as fingerprint collection, the holders can enter through the express clearance channel, the National Immigration Administration announced earlier this month.

At an application service center for mainland travel permits in Sheung Wan, one of the six service centers across the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), holders of British, American, Indian and South Korean passports came to file for their permits on Wednesday at two counters reserved specifically for non-Chinese applicants.

"This is the easiest way for me to travel to the mainland so far," said American businessman named Nick, who has lived and worked in Hong Kong for 27 years. His business trips to the mainland that average about three times a year will be markedly facilitated, and now he is thinking of taking his two children for sightseeing to south China's scenic Guilin City.

Foreign chambers of commerce in Hong Kong have welcomed the new measure, saying it will reinforce Hong Kong's status as an international business center and a gateway to the mainland. Rajkumar N. Sabnani, vice chairman of the Indian Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong, told Xinhua that non-Chinese permanent Hong Kong residents, a large community in Hong Kong, will enjoy more business opportunities once they are granted the permit.

The permit is also expected to boost academic exchanges. Quentin Parker, director of the University of Hong Kong's Laboratory for Space Research, pays regular visits to the Chinese mainland for conferences and other activities. During the eight trips to the mainland so far this year, he had to queue for about an hour almost every time to go through the control points.

"As an academic, I'm very happy about the new opportunity to visit the mainland more seamlessly and smoothly, with less stress and fatigue," said Parker, adding that the new arrangement will also make traveling easier for academic delegations.

"As an American who has been living in Hong Kong for over a decade, it adds a sense of belonging. Expats like me won't feel like outsiders anymore," said Johnson Kong, a member of the Board of Governors of the International Intellectual Property Commercialization Council.