Macau the dialects of Chinese language) and even smaller


     Macau in XX century. The
Portuguese first settled in Macau in 1557. By then, Macau was an important spot
for East-West trade. In 1849 China’s Qing Dynasty was considerably weakened by
the Opium Wars and although it was not de
facto Portuguese colony, Portugal managed in colonizing Macau. One of the
biggest issue while governing was the language barrier. There is a special
relation between the language and law. According to the Joint Declaration of
the Government of the PRC (People’s Republic of China) and the Government of
the Republic of Portugal, Chinese should be as a principal language. But it was
not so easy to apply in practice. By that time only minority of officials could
speak Cantonese (one of the dialects of Chinese language) and even smaller
amount of people could actually write Chinese. By law, Macau’s community should
be conducting bilingualism (ability
of speaking two languages fluently). In reality, these languages were
used only situationally and by the different ethnic groups. So, the real
governing was in the hands of those who speak Portuguese, who studied
Portuguese legal system and who knew Portuguese legal categories. Governing
power was mostly appointed by the Portugal’s president and relied on Lisbon. Talking
about the language, it is important to know that the law forms its reality
through the language. Terms do not exist in the physical world, but they are
the creation of the culture and can’t be separated from their relation with
legal system they were generated in. Sometimes, these can’t be translated of
explained correctly. So, Portuguese were dominant in governing, but had to
communicate through and trust the Macanese (people of mixed Portuguese and East
Asian decent) until the riot of 3rd of December in 1966. This event
crippled that Portuguese influence.

     In 1974 Portuguese revolution emerged. It
caused Portugal to decrease its patronage over all colonies. Democratization in
Macau lead to decentralization. So, by encouraging it people got angry with the
Portuguese government and wanted to seek autonomy. In 1976, the Portuguese
parliament passed the Organic Statute of Macau and established the Legislative
Assembly in Macau. According to the Statute, the Legislative Assembly was to be
composed of 17 members of which 6 were to be elected directly by the people, 6
indirectly elected by the functional constituencies and 5 appointed by the
governor. These elections were to be held every 4 years. The Statute was
revised and the Legislative Assembly expanded to 23 members: 8 directly
elected, 8 indirectly and 7 appointed seats. It was clear that Chinese lacked
an understanding of democracy because of the Confucianism dominance in mainland
China. Plans about handover made well-educated Chinese worry about Region’s
governing under Portuguese administration in the future. Arose the support for
democracy devices. Even if Portuguese were the dominant nation in Assembly, in
1984 two Chinese people won seats in direct election, in 1988 – 4 Chinese
people. Also, from 1988 Macanese influence in Macau politics declined. Economic
development had contributed to the rise in citizen participation in elections.
It gave birth to two groups of people: a new middle class of professionals and
a business elite. These groups had significant importance in governing and
decreased the friction between Portuguese government and the Chinese masses. Business
elites also had some mandates in legislature. In 1992, a bank branch-manager
won the support of these groups and got the seat under the banner of
“Democratic Macau”.

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     The transition period for Macau began in
the late 1980’s. On April 13th in 1987, the Republic of Portugal and
the PRC signed a Joint Declaration on the question of Macau, agreeing that the
PRC would continue the exercise of sovereignty over the territory from 20th
of December, 1999. The PRC promised MSAR (Macau Special Administrative Region)
a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defense affairs. Local
inhabitants received legislative and independent judicial power. Of course,
Macau’s handover was comparable with Hong Kong’s, as the situations were
familiar, but there were significant differences as well: Macau was less
important to Beijing and foreign countries than Hong Kong and it is proved by
agreeing to delay solvation of the case; government was not satisfying enough in
the view of the local Macau’s people; stronger common Pro-Beijing’s attitude; Portugal
did not use force to take Macau and also it was not necessary as the handover

system and economics in XXI century. Macau SAR
is autonomous subnational jurisdiction. Although it’s history granted it
Western-style democratic institutions, these are combined with traditional
Chinese political culture. Macau’s foreign affairs and defence are concern of
Beijing and everything else is for Macau people. Macau people have their own
political institutions and the most influential of them are: The Chief Executive,
members of the Executive Council and the Legislative Assembly. All member of
these institutions had to be Macau’s residents continuously for at least 15
years and most of the cases had to be Chinese nationals. The Chief Executive is
a head of the government and is elected or appointed by Central People’s
Government. He is responsible for leading Central People’s Government and the
Legislative Assembly. He must be 40 or more years old and the permanent
resident of MSAR for at least 20 years. His office term lasts 5 years and one
person can take this position no more than two times. His job is realization of
law, dealing with the budget, formulating administrative regulations, nominating
officials, appointing members in government, etc. The Executive council is
composed of 7 to 11 members. The Council is helping The Chief Executive in
policymaking. Council’s members are appointed by the Chief Executive. The
Legislative Assembly is composed of permanent residents of the Region and the
majority of them are elected. Term of the office is 4 years.

Macau residents like some democracy elements like equal rights,
political participation, civil liberties and agreed with “One Country, Two
Systems”. If we are talking about bilingualism, nowadays, it is legal in Macau,
although about 97% of people in Macau speak Chinese, only 0,7% speak Portuguese
and the rest speak various of different languages. MSAR also has the right to
have its own currency, financial autonomy.

     Politics had influence on economic
position of Macau. In 1999 Macao government was ruled by unexperienced
officials and at the same time there arose a tide of gangland violence. The
Asian economic crisis in 1997 depressed Macau’s casinos which heavily relied on
high-rolled gamblers of Hong Kong. Personal conflicts between gangsters caused
public law and order disruption. Beijing used People’s Liberation army troops
in MSAR as an obvious deterrent against gangland violence. Beijing also allowed
more tourists from mainland to visit Macau in order to recreate
tourism-dependent local economy. It turned out well, restauration proceeded.
MSAR Administration encouraged economic growth as in 2002 it was decided to end
the dominant casino monopoly and liberate its gaming industry by allowing
foreign investors. Since then, Macau’s economy enjoyed a massive GDP (Gross Domestic Product)
growth on a gaming industry boom. In 2011, Macau’s GDP was more than twice as
big as in 1999. The unemployment rate dropped from 6.8% in 2000 to 2% in 2012.
China’s Macau became “Las Vegas of the East” and in 2007 it actually overcame
the real Las Vegas by the total gambling income which reached US $10,3 billion.
However, this quickly growing economy brought some disadvantages, too. People
were angry about rapidly changing socioeconomic position of the island-city
that threatened their livelihood, for example sky-rocketing property rent or
price. Ill-coordinated economy with dominating gaming sector caused price
inflation, infrastructure overload, environment decline and life quality
deterioration. Moreover, what worsened the situation is that some corruption
cases got revealed and it decreased public confidence in MSAR’s government
officials. In order to ensure a positive transformation, there were some
changes made which included taxes, welfare benefits, medical care, and most
importantly, direct cash payment. If conducting these changes properly, it
would lead to Macau’s social and administrative advancement. Right now, Macau’s
economy relies mostly on tourism and gambling.


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