Border guards in Zhuhai are trying to prevent illegal immigrants entering Macau through a new univeristy campus in the territory. The site, leased from the authorities in Zhuhai and on the Chinese mainland but under Macanese administration, welcomes its first students this month.
An explicit sign hanging on the fence surrounding the campus perimeter reads: “Unauthorised crossing of the University of Macau’s walls is strictly prohibited. Violators may face administrative punishment. Tip-offs will be rewarded.”
High walls surround the campus behind the fence, photos published by official media reveal, and armed border officials patrol the area.
The territory in question is University of Macau’s new Zhuhai campus, which has been in use since August. It is located on the southern city’s Hengqin region, just across sea from Macau’s Cotai strip. It will be the new home of the university’s faculties and will accommodate some 10,000-plus students and staff. The principal estimates 2,000 students and teachers will be at work in the new site by the end of September, with the rest relocating by the end of next year.
The campus may sit on the mainland, but it is cut off from Zhuhai and rest of the mainland by concrete barriers and an artificial river. The only access to the campus is from Macau via a 1.5-kilometre undersea tunnel, which does not include the usual immigration checks. It is almost impossible to stop illegal immigrants from entering Macau once they have succeeded in gaining entry to the campus.
The authorities have succeeded in stopping 117 illegal cross-border migration attempts during the three-year construction of the campus, and have cracked an “extraordinarily serious drug trafficking case,” official media Xinhua revealed.
The situation has not improved since the new premises were formally handed over to the university in July. In August, the border control force intercepted a further four illegal immigrants, a Xinhua report said.
The new campus occupies around one square kilometre and will be under the jurisdiction of Macau, which operates a very different legal system to that on the mainland. Students and faculty members, for example, enjoy complete internet freedom without censorship.