China announced that beginning July 1, residents of 9 cities in three eastern provinces will be allowed to travel to Hong Kong without visas. Rules for travel to Hong Kong will be relaxed for residents of Nanjing, Suzhou and Wuxi in Jiangsu province; Hangzhou, Ningbo and Taizhou in Zhejiang province and Fuzhou, Xiamen and Quanzhou in Fujian province. In May, travel restrictions on all residents of Guangdong province will be lifted. China. The rules governing travel to Hong Kong by mainland residents began in 2003 with four cities in Guangdong, with the benefits later extended to residents of 10 other cities in the province, as well as residents of Beijing and Shanghai. Hong Kong retail sales, badly damaged in 2003 by SARS, have steadily improved since the beginning of the travel reforms.