The State Council has announced that a mainland Chinese official who was posted to Macau last July as a deputy director of Beijing’s liaison office has been appointed as the new head of the agency. In a notice posted on its website on Monday, the nation’s cabinet said it had promoted Zheng Xincong to the role of director of the central government’s liaison office in Macau, succeeding Fu Ziying, who had served in the position since late 2018. Zheng, 58, will also replace Fu as the adviser to Macau’s national security commission, which functions in a similar role to Hong Kong’s Committee for Safeguarding National Security. The mainland official will now be required to “supervise, guide, coordinate and support” Macau’s efforts in safeguarding national security as part of his new advisory role. In contrast to Hong Kong, which did not have a national security law until it was imposed by Beijing in 2020, Macau enacted its own legislation in 2009 and later established the high-level commission in 2018 to oversee such matters. Macau’s outlook clouded by gambling risk, climate shocks, IMF says Due to his recent promotion, Zheng will also no longer serve as a national security technical adviser to the commission, a post to which he was appointed in March. In his previous position as a deputy director of the central government’s liaison office in Macau, to which he was appointed in July, Zheng focused on legal, cultural and youth affairs. Eilo Yu Wing-yat, a political scientist at the University of Macau, said: “Zheng’s promotion indicates that the liaison office in Macau has been reformed by promoting personnel who have fewer local connections and networks. “This seems to be a policy by Beijing whereby the central government’s local agencies should not have a close relationship with local authorities.” The liaison office acts as Beijing’s representative agency in the city and is one of three central government bodies with a presence in Macau. The other two are the office of the foreign affairs commissioner and the local garrison for the People’s Liberation Army. Does Hong Kong’s embrace of Macau’s election style risk alienating the public? However, Professor Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of Beijing’s semi-official think tank, the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said he believed it was a routine promotion. “Zheng was picked probably because of his good resume. He had been vice-governor of Fujian and should have no problem taking charge of the liaison office in Macau,” he said. “The situation in Macau is largely stable. Even with someone who does not have much experience of Macau, it should not be a big problem for a new director.” Born in Fujian province, Zheng earned a university degree at the Party School of the Fujian Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China and is also a trained engineer. His previous experience includes serving as vice-governor of the province as well as holding the post of general secretary for the Fujian provincial party committee. Zheng’s predecessor, Fu, had served as the head of Beijing’s liaison office in Macau since December 2018, following the death of the previous director, Zheng Xiaosong, in a suspected suicide.