In the 20 years since its reunification with the motherland, Macao has registered remarkable growth and become a vibrant, prosperous and stable modern metropolis by taking advantage of the “One Country, Two Systems” framework and integrating its development into the overall development of the country.
This fact was highlighted by President Xi Jinping in his speech to mark the 20th Anniversary of Macao’s return to China. Macao is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and China’s richest city, with its per capita GDP of $82,600 (in 2018) being the second-highest in the world.
Since the implementation of the country’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), Macao’s economy has grown rapidly, its people’s livelihoods have improved significantly and its development has exceeded expectations.
This shows the Special Administrative Region’s (SAR) Government has made fruitful use of the plan. In fact, Macao’s Stability & Prosperity can be attributed to the wholehearted support of the Central Government.
The after effects of the 1997 Asia financial crisis and 2002-03 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome epidemic brought Macao’s economy to a temporary standstill.
To ease the pressure on Macao, the Central Government implemented a series of policy measures, including the signing of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement and the opening of “free travel” for residents of some Chinese mainland cities to Macao, which helped the SAR’s economy to arrest the downturn and move toward recovery and then growth.
In the 12th Five Year Plan (2011-15) and 13th Five-Year Plan, the Central Government described Macao as a “world centre for tourism and leisure” and a “service platform for business cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries”, giving the SAR a unique position and function in overall national reform, opening-up and economic development in the new era.
In the recent past, the Central Government has drawn up a development plan to build the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, making Macao one of the four central cities of the area, and issued $285.44 million of Government bonds in Macao to boost the development of its financial market. Such measures, needless to say, have created unprecedented development opportunities for the SAR.
Since its return to China, Macao has tied its future to that of the motherland, overcoming various crises and passing several tests, which shows patriotism is the cornerstone of Macao’s development under the “one country, two systems” framework.
As early as January 2009, Macao’s Legislative Council passed a law on safeguarding national security and implemented local legislation on national security based on Article 23 of the Macao Basic Law.
Ever since, Macao’s economic growth has accelerated, demonstrating that only by firmly safeguarding national security can Macao continue its stable social and economic development.
In addition, the SAR Government has strengthened patriotic education in schools and colleges, and “one country, two systems” have become the core values of Macao society.
In September 2016, the SAR Government implemented its five-year development plan, laying out a strategy to coordinate its development with the country’s latest Five-Year Plan, participate in the Belt & Road Initiative, build a platform for business cooperation between China and Portuguese speaking countries and integrate itself into the regional cooperation mechanism.
Various entities in Macao have established close economic and trade relations with Portuguese Speaking and ASEAN Countries, built extensive contacts with overseas Chinese communities and helped expand the mainland’s markets along the Belt & Road Routes.
Moreover, one of the priorities of the SAR Government has been to upgrade the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement.
In November 2018, it set up a working committee for coordinating its participation in the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. As a vital node of the Belt & Road Initiative and given its unique advantages, Macao can act as an important window for China to further open up to the outside world.