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Pop culture draws China tourists during the New Year's holidays

BEIJING -- Traveling to Taiwan has emerged as a new trend among young Chinese because of the popularity of Taiwan's pop culture, including television dramas, pop music and variety shows.

Guo Yi, a graduate student at Beijing Normal University, said he wants to do an internship across the Strait to experience Taiwanese culture. Guo enjoys watching Taiwanese TV dramas and also spoke enthusiastically about “Life of Pi,” a film made by Taiwan-born director Ang Lee.

Popular Taiwanese variety-comedy show “KangXi Lai Le” is a must-watch for many young Chinese people. Yang Hang, who works in Beijing, said he watches Taiwanese variety shows on the Internet and almost never misses an episode of his favorites.

The trend has gained momentum with the introduction of a new measure that gives more Chinese convenient access to Taiwan.

Starting in September, Chinese nationals have been allowed to apply for travel permits to Taiwan in six cities where they do not have their household registration.

That means people who work or go to college in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen but whose households are not registered in those cities can now apply for travel documents, including a pass to Taiwan, without returning to their hometowns.

“Many of my employees have long wanted to visit Taiwan. However, some of them do not have their household registration in Beijing and have to get documents back in their hometowns. So our planned trip to Taiwan has never worked out,” said Lee Hsu-heng, a Taiwan-born interior designer who founded Golucci Design Ltd. in Beijing.

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