Explainer: How does cross-Straits integrated development work?

A file photo of Pingtan County, southeast China’s Fujian Province. /CFP

A file photo of Pingtan County, southeast China’s Fujian Province. /CFP

With a swipe of their residence permits, people from the Taiwan region living in Pingtan County in southeast China’s Fujian Province, are able to access over 50 service types ranging from children’s schooling and rental subsidies to medical insurance and business registration on an all-in-one machine in their communities.

The first integrated service platform for Taiwan residents on the mainland is one of eight key achievements to facilitate cross-Straits integration showcased by Pingtan at the Seventh Digital China Summit, which was held on Friday and Saturday in Fujian Province.

Fujian and Taiwan have extensive linguistic and ancestral ties. The province is the closest on the mainland to Taiwan, with the shortest distance between Pingtan and Taiwan Island being about 125 kilometers. Pingtan enjoys geographical, cultural and economic advantages to forge stronger ties across the Straits.

Inspecting Fujian in March 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), urged it to take bigger strides in exploring new ways of integrated development on both sides of the Taiwan Straits through better connectivity and more preferential policies based on mutual trust and understanding.

In September 2023, the Chinese government announced that Fujian would be built into a demonstration zone to leverage its distinctive advantages in order to further enhance integrated cross-Straits development, according to a circular jointly issued by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council.

The objective, according to the circular, is to make Fujian the preferred destination for Taiwan residents and enterprises to pursue development on the mainland.

Cities in Fujian, including Fuzhou and Quanzhou, have launched multiple measures to increase exchanges with and support Taiwan residents who live and do business there.

As of November 2023, there were more than 25,000 Taiwan-funded projects in Fujian and $33 billion worth of capital from Taiwan, with the number of newly established Taiwan enterprises ranking first among the mainland provinces for many consecutive years, according to the most recent figures from Fujian’s Department of Commerce.

‘One family’

Fujian presents a typical example of the mainland’s efforts to realize peaceful reunification with the conviction that people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits are of the same family.

The CPC has developed an overall policy for resolving the Taiwan question in the new era, and set out overarching guidelines. Among them, the conviction of “one family” aims to promote peaceful and integrated development and bring benefits to people on both sides of the Straits.

In April this year, when meeting with former Chinese Kuomintang Party leader Ma Ying-jeou in Beijing, Xi reiterated his commitment to the “one family” conviction.

Noting that the people on both sides of the Straits are Chinese, Xi said that “there is no knot that cannot be untied, no issues that cannot be discussed, and no force that can separate us.”

“We will take effective measures to promote communication, exchanges and integration across the Straits, so that people from across the Straits will better understand each other through communication, have more trust of each other through exchanges, and treat each other with all heart,” Xi stressed.