Beijing White Paper 2014

Draft policy paper spells out Beijing’s authority over Macau’s autonomy

Policy draft said to be related to protests over officials' pensions will address similar issues to Hong Kong white paper, as well as public order

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 June, 2014, 11:44pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 5:52pm

The central government is drafting a policy paper on Macau which will stress that the city's autonomy is subject to Beijing's authorisation.

The document on the practice of "one country, two systems" in the former Portuguese enclave will repeat messages similar to those delivered in the white paper on Hong Kong this week.

But it will also address issues such as public order - in the wake of recent protests over lucrative retirement packages for top officials - and highlight the need for Beijing to step up communication with the Macau people.

A central government-linked researcher who has been monitoring Macau's development said that while the outline of the document - the first stage in formulating a white paper - had been completed, the timing of its release had yet to be decided.

"The drafting of the paper is partly related to the recent saga over the Macau government's proposal to grant lavish retirement packages to a former chief executive and top officials," the researcher said.

On May 29, Macau's chief executive Dr Fernando Chui Sai-on bowed to public pressure and scrapped a bill that would have activated the packages. He made the U-turn two days after thousands of protesters converged on the legislature.

The bill would have given former chief executives a stipend every month equivalent to 70 per cent of their monthly salary for as long as they were unemployed. Chui earns an estimated at 270,000 patacas a month.

Retiring ministers would have received a one-off payment of up to 30 per cent of their monthly wage for each month of service. Protesters saw it as tailor-made for Chui's cabinet when its term ends on December 19.

The researcher said Beijing was concerned about the controversy, which exposed governance problems within the Chui administration. "The central government will come up with ways to better explain to Macau people its policies towards the city," the researcher added.

A deputy director of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong, Yin Xiaojing, said the promotion of the precise meaning of the "one country, two systems" policy needed to be deepened continuously. Yin added that a clear-cut and unequivocal stand against the "Occupy Central" movement should be taken.

A spokesman for Macau's Government Information Bureau said: "At present, the Macau government does not have any information regarding this."

Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said he also had no idea that the central government was preparing such a document. "Compared with Hong Kong, Beijing is relatively satisfied with the implementation of 'one country, two systems' in Macau," he said.

In the Hong Kong white paper, the State Council stresses that the central government holds "comprehensive jurisdiction" over Hong Kong. It also emphasises there is no such thing as "residual power" for the special administration region.

Additional reporting by Jeffie Lam