BEIJING -- China's State Council Taiwan Affairs Office reported that as of Wednesday 818 Taiwan residents had signed up to take the National Judicial Exam on the mainland on September 20 and 21.
It is the first time Taiwan residents have been able to apply.
"These applicants, having passed the qualification check, will sit the exam together with their mainland competitors in 14 mainland provinces as well as Hong Kong and Macao," said council spokesman Li Weiyi.
In preparation of the exam, the Ministry of Justice issued test rules in Taiwan. It also chose the coastal cities of Xiamen and Shenzhen in southeast China as testing sites for 588 Taiwan residents coming across the Strait for the exam.
On April 16, the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office permitted Taiwan residents to join the exam. For years, law professionals from the island had requested to participate.
"It was out of the need for economic and social development across the Taiwan Strait for Taiwan residents to take the exam and get the qualification for practicing law on the mainland," said Ding Lu, director of the National Judicial Examination Center under China's Ministry of Justice.
The certificate is needed for those who want to be a judge or a lawyer in the mainland.
According to official figures, 294,000 people across China took the exam last year and only 58,000 passed. This year, around 370,000 Chinese were taking the test.
Held annually in September, the National Judicial exam began in 2002. It was organized by the National Judicial Examination Center under the Ministry of Justice. On the mainland, registration started in June and closed in July.