How important is Macau to China

20 years of return to China - Red Macao shines even redder today

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The former enclave returned to China from Portuguese rule exactly 20 years ago. This is celebrated frenetically and not - as in Hong Kong - physically torpedoed.

Xi Jinping has been in town as the guest of honor since Wednesday. The security precautions are massive. But unlike in Hong Kong, the Chinese head of state does not have to fear large demonstrations in Macau.

At first glance, Macau and Hong Kong have a lot in common. While Hong Kong once belonged to Great Britain and was returned to China in 1997, Macao, which is right next door, followed from Portuguese rule in 1999.

One country, two systems

The two cities have since been ruled in their own territories according to the famous principle of "one country, two systems". Both are subject to the sovereignty of China, but enjoy more freedoms than the people of the People's Republic. This special status is actually guaranteed by contract for 50 years.

While the Hong Kong people are already fighting against Beijing's increasing influence, there is hardly any sign of opposition in Macau.

Some young people in Macau take inspiration from the Hong Kong protest movement. By and large, however, the two places are different worlds.
Author: Leo Hong Kong labor protester in Macau

That is how Larry So sees it. The retired professor describes his city as "always very red". What is meant is the preference of the Macau people for the communist leadership in Beijing. According to So, unlike the English in Hong Kong, the Portuguese colonialists did not succeed in giving people a common identity.

"The Portuguese and the predominantly Chinese population lived separately from each other." The communists effectively controlled the city long before the Portuguese withdrew.

While Britain was conducting bitter restitution negotiations with Beijing, which included the prospect of free elections for Hong Kong in the future, Portugal made little effort to get anything out of the Macau population.

A goodie from Beijing

But there was a lucrative promise from Beijing: Macau is the only place in China that is legal for gambling. The world-famous casinos are the lifeline and most important source of income for the Special Administrative Region, whose per capita income is one of the highest in the world. “This economic strength is essential for people's satisfaction,” says So.

A few years ago it became clear that this foundation can also wobble. The anti-corruption campaign prescribed nationwide by President Xi Jinping resulted in far fewer cadres from the mainland going to Macau for a while to launder their money in the gambling halls.

The good guys get candy.
Author: Larry SoEmerited Professor

The game industry, which is also the city's most important employer, has stabilized again. In light of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, Beijing wants to make sure that the mood in Macau does not change.

Shortly before the President's planned trip this week, reports of extensive gifts are making the rounds. Accordingly, the central government in Macau no longer only wants to promote the entertainment industry, but rather to develop the city into a financial center. The message to Hong Kong, which is dominated by big banks, could hardly be clearer. “The good guys get sweets,” says Professor So, describing Beijing's motivation.

SRF 4 News, 10:48 a.m.; dpa / spic; horm

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  • Commentary from Christian Kaiser (Chriska)
    Speaking of the ban on gambling in China. In Laos in the golden triangle, the Chinese have built a giant casino and hotel complex. Everything with exclusively Chinese workers and Chinese personnel. So much for the moral of the Chinese leadership. That's why they get along so well with Trump (despite tariffs etc.)
    Agree agree to the comment
    1. answer from Hans Peter Auer (Ural620)
      That is the case, namely the "Golden Triangle" special economic zone, which Laos has registered together with the Kings Romans Group in Hong Kong. During a visit 3 years ago, I unfortunately had to find out that besides "tokens" a lot of other (not legal) things are being traded. Drugs, people and animals to name just a few, along with textiles and souvenirs. Sad to see it like that!
      Agree agree to the comment
    2. Show answers
  • Comment from antigone kunz (antigonekunz)
    The choice people, at the moment in the East have a little more accentuated, seems to me, is between addiction and addiction. On the one hand, that game of money that someone has and, like everyone else, gamble away what we humans take on but then cannot properly assimilate, on the other hand the digitization epidemic. Actually, somewhere between opium and coke. With us rather between coke and coke, the choice that people make for themselves? AND well, there are also completely different stories.
    Agree agree to the comment
    1. answer from Christian Halter (Asterix the Gaul)
      Contrary to what appears to be a majority, I think that you are not so wrong Ms. Kunz. We take the money and economic relations with China, even though we know it is not good and we support something bad, which could later cause us nasty side effects and long-term damage instead of being consistent and honest with ourselves ...
      Agree agree to the comment
    2. Show answers

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