Macau, the Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, is a special administrative region on the western side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China. With a population of 667,400 and an area of 32.9 sq. km, it is the most densely populated region in the world. It was formerly a colony of the Portuguese Empire after Ming China leased the territory as a trading post in 1557. Between 1557 and 1887, Macau was governed by the Portuguese under Chinese sovereignty and authority. In 1887, Portugal was given perpetual colonial rights for Macau. The colony remained under Portuguese rule until 1999 when it was transferred to China. As a special administrative region, Macau maintains separate governing and economic systems from that of mainland China.
In the 1980s, negotiation started between China and Portugal for the transfer of sovereignty of Macau to the People’s Republic of China. The major issue of that time was the prosperity of Macau to be guaranteed. As in the 1980s, the economic situation of China was not as good as today, but Macau was a much prospered place and people of Macau were enjoying a modern prosper comfortable advance life style. There were questions about the future of Macau under Chinese control. There were many reservations and doubts and some of them were quite serious and logical.
Great leader, Comrade Deng Xiao Ping, introduced a new concept “One Country, with two Systems” where the current system of Macau will be not changed for 50 years after China gains control over Macau. I believe this was a Nobel idea and biggest achievement of the last century, which enabled China to re-gain control over Macau and Hong Kong, without firing a single bullet, or killing a single person. It was a very peaceful and smooth process of transfer of power to China. The world must acknowledge the centuries-old wisdom of Chinese people and must congratulate the leadership of China at that time. Apart from politics, Comrade Deng Xiao Ping deserved the “Nobel Peace Prize”.
Under one country, two systems Macau has its own government, legal and financial affairs. It has its own local currency, and differing local laws, including legal gambling, which makes up a huge chunk of the economy. The region’s leader, the chief executive, is chosen by a 400 local-person committee comprising of politicians and businessmen. China guarantees a “high degree of autonomy” for the regions for 50 years, while Beijing maintaining control of the defense and foreign affairs only.
20 years under Chinese control, Macau’s GDP has soared from US$6.4 billion in 1999 to more than US$55 billion while per capita GDP is the third-highest in the world behind Luxembourg and Switzerland. The Infrastructure has been upgraded at par with International standards, education sector boomed and Macau has reached its peak in Human Resource Development, the Life expectancy has grown to 4th position in the world. In fact, Macau has been a beneficiary of Chinese control and avail China’s rise as a plus point and developed its own economy. The Law and order situation has improved, people feel more safe, secure and comfortable. It has become a major resort city and the top destination for tourism as the ninth-highest recipient of tourism revenue. Its GDP per capita by purchasing power parity is one of the highest in the world and higher than any country in the world in 2014 according to the World Bank. The territory is highly urbanized and most development is built on reclaimed land; two-thirds of the total land area is reclaimed from the sea.
Chinese Government pays full attention and importance to the development of Macau. At the 20th Anniversary of Macau returning into Chinese sovereignty, President Xi Jin Ping arrived in Macau on 18 December 2019 (Wednesday) for a 3 days celebrations. The 3 days festivities focused on the inauguration of a new leader for a city that China views as a shining example of its “one country, two systems” model.
It is hope for Taiwan too, people in Taiwan also see their future prospects just like Macau. Trust, Taiwan will even prosper more than Macau and develop more rapidly. Re-unification of Taiwan will boost the standard of life of Taiwanese, as well as strengthen China as a big power. It will make China play an even bigger role in geopolitics. A strong China is a guarantor for the global economy, peace, and stability.