Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday warned Hong Kong and Macau to remember that they are part of “one China,” as pro-democracy campaigners in both semiautonomous territories call for free leadership elections.
Dozens of protesters marched through Macau’s historic center yesterday afternoon as Xi wrapped up his two-day visit to mark the 15th anniversary of the territory’s handover from Portugal — just days after police cleared the last remaining protest sites in neighboring Hong Kong.
Residents of all ages walked in the middle of the road through the historic district shouting: “We want universal suffrage” through megaphones, some wrapped in banners and others with slogans painted across their faces.
“I am uncertain about Macau’s future, so we have to come out to make noise for ourselves,” said Mark Pang, a 15-year-old high-school student who held up an open yellow umbrella — the symbol of the Hong Kong democracy movement.
The protest march culminated in a public square where about 100 demonstrators remained in the early evening, though some bystanders were confused by the scene.
“Are these people from Hong Kong?” one asked.
Xi warned both territories against a “misguided approach” in a speech.
“We must both adhere to the ‘one China’ principle and respect the difference of the two systems,” Xi said at the inauguration of Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui (崔世安), who was selected for a second term by a pro-Beijing committee in August.
“At no time should we focus only on one side to the neglect of the other. This is the only way leading to sound and steady progress. Otherwise, a misguided approach from the beginning, just like putting one’s left foot into the right shoe, would lead us to nowhere,” Xi said.
He also warned against “external infiltration and interference” to safeguard the stability of Macau. Beijing has accused foreign forces of stirring up the Hong Kong protests.
There were also reports that some visitors and journalists from Hong Kong were denied entry after being told their names were on a blacklist.
Both Macau and Hong Kong enjoy freedoms unseen elsewhere in China — but their leaders are selected by a loyalist committee.
“In the light of Hong Kong’s Umbrella movement, I think Macau people should escalate our actions for democracy,” local protest leader Jason Chao (周庭希) told reporters.
“We need a democratic political system in which the citizens can hold the officials accountable,” Chao said, adding that despite a huge economic boom in the gambling enclave in the past decade, the quality of life for residents has been on the decline, with government officials seen as too close to big business.
Similar discontent over corruption and social inequality partly underpins the Hong Kong movement.
Although Macau’s democracy movement is not on the scale of Hong Kong’s, the territory saw its largest ever protest in May over proposed cash benefits for retired Macau officials, with 20,000 people.
Xi gave his backing to Hong Kong Chief ExecutiveLeung Chun-ying (梁振英), who he met in Macau on Friday, pledging “full trust” in him after the clearance of protest camps that blocked Hong Kong highways for more than two months.
Xi’s visit was also a chance to assert that the territory needs to diversify away from casinos, which have seen revenues dive owing to a national anti-corruption drive and a stuttering economy.
He called on Macau to “promote appropriately diversified and sustainable economic development” during his speech, before leaving the enclave in the late afternoon.
EIGHT-YEAR WINDOW: Avril Haines said that Beijing is closely watching the Russian invasion of Ukraine, although Moscow’s actions have not sped up Beijing’s timeline The threat posed by China to Taiwan until 2030 is “critical,” US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said on Tuesday while testifying on worldwide threats at a hearing of the US Senate Committee on Armed Services. “I think it’s fair to say that it’s critical, or acute,” Haines said when asked by US Senator Josh Hawley if she viewed the threat facing Taiwan to be acute from now until 2030. “It’s our view that they [China] are working hard to effectively put themselves into a position in which their military is capable of taking Taiwan over our intervention,” she said, without
NO CONSENSUS YET: Local governments and the CECC have agreed to change the ‘3+4’ self-isolation policy, but are still mulling what to replace it with The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) and local governments have agreed to ease restrictions on close contacts of COVID-19 cases, although the details are still being discussed, the center said yesterday. The discussions follow Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Saturday approving a proposal to shorten the “3+4” policy — three days of home isolation followed by four days of self-disease prevention — for close contacts who have received booster doses. “We did not reach a consensus on how to revise the current restrictions, but we all agreed that the administrative burden must be reduced and the intensity of restrictions must be eased,
OPPOSING CHINESE ‘HOSTILITY’: The bill orders the state secretary to create a plan to regain observer status for Taiwan, saying Taipei is a model contributor to world health US President Joe Biden on Friday signed a bill into law to help Taiwan regain observer status at the World Health Assembly (WHA), demonstrating Washington’s support for Taiwan’s international participation. Friday was the deadline for Biden to sign the bill (S.812), which directs “the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to regain observer status for Taiwan in the World Health Organization (WHO), and for other purposes.” The 75th WHA, the decisionmaking body of the WHO, is scheduled to meet in Geneva, Switzerland, from Sunday next week to May 28. The bill, introduced by US Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the US Senate
‘DAMOCLES SWORD’: An Italian missionary said the arrest of cardinal Zen is a blow for the church in Hong Kong, China and the world, signaling great danger ahead China yesterday defended the arrest of a 90-year-old Catholic cardinal under Hong Kong’s National Security Law, a move that triggered international outrage and deepened concerns over Beijing’s crackdown on freedoms in the territory. Retired cardinal Joseph Zen (陳日君), one of the most senior Catholic clerics in Asia, was among a group of veteran democracy advocates arrested on Wednesday for “colluding with foreign forces.” Pop singer Denise Ho (何韻詩), veteran barrister Margaret Ng (吳靄儀) and cultural studies academic Hui Po-keung (許寶強) were also arrested, the latter as he attempted to fly to Europe to take up an academic post. Cyd Ho (何秀蘭), a democracy