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According to the National Immigration Agency (NIA), the number of Chinese tourists that visit Taiwan during China’s National Day Golden Week will break last year’s record of 80 thousand people to about 90 thousand this year. However, with the upcoming 2016 presidential election in Taiwan, there are sayings that China will limit the amount of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan from December 16, 2015 to January 15, 2016, slashing 95% of the tourists.

Taipei Association of Travel Agents has confirmed this news. This policy is believed to control the amount of flight seats before the election, so that Taiwanese businessmen can return to Taiwan to vote.

Epoch Times reports, the Tourism Bureau has just raised the amount of independent Chinese tourists from four thousand to five thousand people per day on September 21. According to statistics, the number of independent Chinese tourists broke the record on October 1, reaching 16,171 people in one day. This is 2,000 more people than last year’s 14,000.

RTHK reports, Taiwan’s presidential election will be held next January. Taipei Association of Travel Agents says that the Chinese government has informed the tourism bureaus in each city and province to decrease the amount of tourists to Taiwan from December 16 to January 15 next year. Not only will the amount of tourists be reduced by 95%, business tours to Taiwan will be fully stopped as well.

Zhang Gui-quan, the general manager Chuan Neng Travel Agency also confirms that that the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan will be limited due to the influence of the presidential election. He says the tourists might drop by 30% to 50% starting from November, and there will be a period of observation after January 15, 2016. China will be watching the new president’s cross-strait policy.

An anonymous travel agency owner says, during the sensitive election season, China always reduces the number of Chinese tourists to Taiwan, but they mainly just notified airline companies. This time they directly went for the tourism bureaus and may imply China’s intention to pin down the DPP.

Lai Bing-rong, director of the Tourism Bureau’s Hotel, Travel and Training Division, says that Chinese authorities have not yet given a clear statement regarding this news and the bureau will keep in contact with them. He also says that during the past elections, China also limited business tours and official visiting groups to Taiwan. There is no need to have unnecessary speculations.

Lai stresses that if the news is true, the documents for Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan is valid for three months. As long as the tourist apply for them before December 15, they can still come to Taiwan between December 16 to January 15 next year, and independent Chinese tourists will not be restricted.

Translated by Vic Chiang
Edited by Olivia Yang