The Chinese president is in the former Portuguese colony for the 20th anniversary of its return to the mainland as well as the inauguration of its new chief executive, Ho Iat-seng. Macau’s cabinet includes five mainlanders. Xi warns that Macau and Hong Kong are China’s internal affairs: “we will never tolerate any external interference”.
Macau (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Chinese President Xi Jinping was in Macau this morning to mark the 20th anniversary of its return to mainland China.
In a speech he said that the people and government of the former Portuguese colony have always been patriotic, really understanding the concept of “one country, two systems” and thanks to this they have grown in a stable and really satisfying way.
The formal occasion also provided the setting for the inauguration of the city’s new chief executive, Ho Iat-seng. Five members of his cabinet of ten are from the mainland. He was picked by a 400-member commission approved by Beijing.
The success of Macau – which boasts a US$ 80,000 per capita GDP, the second highest in the world – has an explanation, namely that when the system of shared management “is not being distorted” results follow.
“The compatriots of Macau have a tradition of patriotism,” Xi said, “they have been considering issues based on the interest of the nation and Macau,” he added.
What is more, “Patriotic education has been soundly pushed forward in various kinds of school, and the sense of national identity has been deeply rooted in the heart of young people.”
The stress on patriotic education is not accidental. In Hong Kong, another former European colony returned to the mainland, a law on patriotic education met strong opposition.
For the past few months, the city has been caught up in protests against an extradition bill that would open it to direct mainland law enforcement.
At the end of his speech, Xi made it clear that “the handling of [Hong Kong and Macau] affairs is strictly China's internal matter [. . .] we will never tolerate any external interference”.