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Welcome Home, Macau


Macau will return to Chinese rule on 20th Dec, 1999.
Let me tell a brief history of Macau.

Portugal was allowed to trade in Macau under an agreement with China in 1553 after several failures of the marine wars with China. And the Portuguese people were allowed to live in Macau in 1557. Portuguese power in Macau wasn't formalized until 1565. The Portuguese people in Macau began to pay taxes to the Chinese government in 1571. Macau still belonged to China until 1849 when Portugal announced it would refuse to pay taxes to the Chinese government and that it planned to get Macau legally. China lost control over Macau entirely after that.

But now Macau will return to China and the handover ceremony will be held at 0:00 21th Dec, 1999 nder the agreement China and Portugal reached in 1987. For the very first time, Macau people will have their own leader elected by themselves. Time and opportunity await Macau in the 21st century.

Here is a currently popular lyric which was written decades ago:

Do you know Macau is not my real name?

I have left you too long, mother!

But what they robbed was only my flesh and blood.

You still keep my soul deep in my heart.

Mother who has never been forgotten even in dreams for more than three hundred years,

please call me my nick name Ao Men.

Mother, I'll be back, I'll be back!

(In Chinese, we call Macau 'Ao Men')

Well maybe I am being a bad interpreter, but it is really a terrific song.

Michael responds

So now Macau is once again back with China - like Hong Kong in 1997. Was December 20th a happy day? Was there much celebrating in China and Macau.

On the TV news here they said that one reason why it was good that Macau was being returned to Chinese rule was that the stricter Chinese government might be able to control the organised crime problem there. What do you think?

Moral responds to Michael (January 6, 1999)

Yes Michael, Dec 20th, 1999 was a very happy day for me and for all Chinese people. And the return of Macau is considered as a very important step on the way to consolidate the whole country. People the country over celebrated it very ardently, like they did in 1997.

I think you mentioned one of the reasons why it was good that Macau was being returned to Chinese rule - or to say more precisely, to the Macau residents' own rule. Like Hong Kong, Macau residents elect their own leaders to rule themselves under the principle of 'One country, two systems'. Macau has its own government and its own legal system handling its own business except diplomacy. So only those criminals in Macau who also committed crimes in China and who were caught by Chinese police have unluckily been punished by the Chinese legal system. They are only a few. Macau can punish its criminals with its own legal system, which appears more lenient than China's.

I think another advantage of Macau's return to China is that Macau now will have greater access to the huge Chinese market and this will bring it more opportunities in the future. And for Chinese people, how things are going in Hong Kong and Macau could be a helpful example for the future. So a returned Macau is better for both China and Macau than was a Macau under Portuguese rule.

Best wishes,


Moral's articles on Macau were followed by an interesting debate on Chinese control of Hong Kong and potentially Taiwan.

Click here to read about that!


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Last updated: January 6, 2000