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Taiwan opens up to Chinese thesps

Officials plan to loosen rules for mainland actors

BEIJING — As frosty relations between Taiwan and mainland China continue to thaw, Taipei officials are planning to loosen rules to allow mainland Chinese thesps take part in Taiwanese costume dramas.

It’s part of a one-year trial aimed at giving the TV biz in Taiwan a boost, and could create hundreds of jobs on the self-ruled island.

Under current rules, mainland thesps are not allowed to appear on Taiwanese skeins, and as a result the shows do not do well on the mainland. And while some big names like multi-hyphenate Jay Chou do well on the mainland through songs and movies, most Taiwanese thesps cannot break into the market because of the TV restrictions.

The two bitter rivals are finding ever more common ground since the pro-Beijing leader President Ma Jing-yeou was elected last year. China is run by the Communist Party and it considers Taiwan a renegade province. The losing nationalist Kuomintang party fled there in 1949 after defeat in the civil war.

Shows produced under this program could be broadcast on both markets, the Taiwanese information office said, quoted on local media.

Even if 5% of the 15,000 hours of drama programs made on the mainland each year were to be made in Taiwan annually, it would mean 375 jobs for thesps alone, to say nothing of work for technicians and crews.

The plan will be passed to the Mainland Affairs Council and then the government for approval.

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