East China's Fujian province will continue efforts to become the "first home" for Taiwan residents and enterprises who want to establish roots on the Chinese mainland, with convenient exchanges and closer cooperation between both sides of the Taiwan Straits, according to the provincial government's work report.
Fujian, the closest mainland province to Taiwan, saw the value of its exports to the island increase more than 20 percent last year, according to the work report delivered earlier this month at the annual session of the provincial people's congress.
Last year, Fujian ranked first on the mainland in the number of newly launched enterprises funded by capital from Taiwan. The largest cross-Straits petrochemical cooperation project was launched last year in Gulei, a township on the province's coast, according to the report.
Laying out plans to promote cross-Straits integration this year, the report said the province will deepen cooperation with Taiwan in such industries as electronic information, petrochemical, precision machinery, biotechnology and modern agriculture, and it aims to build high-quality economic cooperation parks to draw investors from the island.
Fujian will also accelerate the development of a cross-Straits energy and resources transfer platform and support efforts by Fuzhou and Pingtan to build cross-Straits e-commerce hubs.
The construction of facilities to send water and electricity to the outlying islets of Kinmen and Matsu, and bridges connecting the islands to the province, will be accelerated.
In addition, Fujian will offer more policy support and improve services for young people from Taiwan who want to work and start businesses in the province, and it will encourage teachers from Taiwan to come and work full-time there.
Efforts will also be made to improve genealogical services for people from the two sides, to hold exchange activities and to support the co-compilation of teaching materials, history books and other works, the report said.
Lin Jinzan, a provincial political adviser and chairman of the board of directors of the Mazu Temple on Meizhou Island, said the belief in the sea goddess Mazu, who is worshipped on both sides of the Straits, brings people from the two sides closer.
Since many Taiwan compatriots make annual pilgrimages to Meizhou, a seaside resort in Putian, Fujian, he suggested building a cross-Straits community in Meizhou for believers from both sides to communicate, so that more Taiwan residents will be encouraged to visit the mainland.
Guo Bingsen, a deputy to the provincial people's congress and chairman of Quanzhou Hongsheng Precision Plastic Mould Co, said as his company is located in a Taiwan investment zone, it wants to employ more highly skilled talent from Taiwan.
Fujian should develop an online certification system for high-level talent in Taiwan and explore ways to expand the scope of mutual recognition of vocational qualifications, Guo said. He also suggested building apartments for Taiwan talent to create a good living environment for them to stay.
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