China has opened an administrative service center in its southernmost city in Hainan Province as part of efforts to safeguard the country's sovereignty over the South China Sea and provide more convenience to residents of the islands.
The center opened by Sansha city in Yongxing Island primarily issues residence permits, and will also provide other permits like exit-entry permits to Hong Kong and Macao to cope with the difficulties experienced by island residents in obtaining residence certificates, the China News Service (CNS) reported on Thursday.
Sansha city was officially established in 2012 to administer the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha island groups and their surrounding waters in the South China Sea. Its government sits in Yongxing, the largest island of the Xisha chain in the South China Sea.
Temporary residents who work or do business in the city for over 30 days should apply for residence permits, which allow them to apply for public rental housing and use transportation in and out of the island, as well as to register their businesses with industry and commerce departments, CNS reported in 2013.
As for those who apply for household registration in the city, they might be eligible if they have lived there for over two years, with stable and legal jobs, as well as stable residence.
The city issued its first identity cards and residence permits on July 17, 2013.Ten people were given identity cards and another 68 received residence permits. They qualified for social insurance, employment and support for starting a business, medical treatment and education, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Sansha's infrastructure has significantly improved since 2012, including its transportation, medical and communication facilities.
Commercial flights will soon be available from Yongxing. Two airfields on the island and Yongshu Reef will improve air services in the South China Sea and provide more information on weather conditions, aeronautics, communication, navigation and surveillance, Xinhua reported in March.
Before Sansha was established, only one regular passenger ship connected Yongxing to Hainan Island.
The city added another ship with telephone and Internet access on board. Sansha 1 was added within a year of the city's establishment, doubling the number of regular trips between Sansha and Hainan from two to four a month.
The two passenger ships, along with a law enforcement vessel, function as base stations for mobile communications and have significantly improved wireless access in neighboring areas.
Sansha also provides waste water treatment facilities, garbage collection and transfer stations, and marine environmental monitoring stations.