Beijing opposes the idea of an open-air handover ceremony in Macau, its top representative in the enclave says. Wang Qiren, director of the Macau branch of Xinhua, was quoted as saying the handover ceremony should be held inside a building and not at an open-air venue as suggested by some sectors. Mr Wang reportedly said Beijing hoped the handover ceremony at midnight on December 19 would be peaceful, harmonious and smooth. While Portugal is said to favour the still unfinished HK$960 million Cultural Centre near the Mandarin Oriental Hotel as the handover venue, China is said to prefer the Macau Forum, a 15-year-old multi-purpose complex opposite the future headquarters of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's representative office. Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio is scheduled to inaugurate the Cultural Centre during an official visit next month. The sports stadium on Taipa island has been mentioned by some Portuguese media as another possible handover site. The issue of the ceremony is on the agenda of the Sino-Portuguese Joint Liaison Group and is also expected to be discussed by Portuguese Foreign Minister Jaime Gama during a planned visit to Beijing in May. Unlike in Hong Kong, Macau's handover does not amount to a transfer of sovereignty, but a change in administration. Portugal unilaterally relinquished its sovereignty claim over all its overseas possessions, including Macau, in the wake of its anti-colonial Revolution of the Carnations in 1974. Beijing pledged it would not exercise sovereignty over Macau until the handover, when it will become an autonomous Special Administrative Region of China.