Speaking today at the Spring Festival reception held by the Chinese Government Liaison Office in Macau, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng stated that last year the Macau society jointly opposed to cross the “unsurpassed line” of chaos “despite the turbulence witnessed in neighboring regions”.
Without directly referring to the almost six months of public and political unrest in Hong Kong last year, the new CE stated that all “local society sectors remained united and guided by a tradition of love to the motherland” jointly defended stability.
The CE stated that over the years, Macau has maintained social stability and harmony and has steadily improved the quality of life of the population. It is “experiencing the best development stage in its history” and demonstrating that the “One Country, Two Systems” principle is “fully achievable and dear to all”, something Chinese President Xi Jinping also expressed during his visit to the city last year.
However, Ho Iat Seng indicated that the city would continue to explore and open ways to continue practicing the “One Country, Two Systems” principle with “Macau characteristics”.
When asked by the media afterward to describe what could be understood about these “Macau characteristics”, Ho indicated that in the 20 years since the city’s handover to Chinese administration in 1999, residents “agree” that the city development shows that the principle is “viable” in Macau, but that there had been no change to the underlying principle.
This week, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam stated that the principles that maintain the SAR autonomy could be prolonged to after its 50-year expiry date in 2047 if it is not “destroyed” by lack of understanding of what it stands for, especially by the city’s youth.
Asked if he held similar views concerning the extension of the principle in Macau after its local expiry date in 2049, CE Ho Iat Seng expressed he “would not make any comment” on the comments by the head of government of the neighboring SAR.
“The 50 years is the country’s policy. After 50 years, I cannot make any prediction,” he noted.