'One country, two systems' solid in Macao, incoming leader says

2019-11-19 08:29:32China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Chief executive-elect calls on Taiwan, SARs, to boost understanding of policy

Macao should set an example for China's reunification cause, as the "one country, two systems" principle has flourished there, said Ho Iat-seng, the newly-elected chief executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region.

"There are some issues in Hong Kong and Taiwan about (the principle), but Macao is doing well," he said during an interview with China Central Television that was broadcast on Sunday night, adding that internal affairs in those areas are the problem, not the principle itself.

Ho was elected the Macao SAR's fifth chief executive on Aug 25 and will start his term on Dec 20, which will be the 20th anniversary of Macao's return to the motherland from Portugal.

Ho said that the "one country, two systems" principle cannot simply be interpreted by pledging allegiance to one national flag. He added that people in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan as well as on the mainland need to strengthen their understanding of the principle.

Macao should not be considered as "overseas" in terms of some industrial policies, nor should it be blocked on the grounds of protecting mainland industries, Ho said. He said he hopes Macao can be provided with more opportunities to develop a more diverse economy.

Ho likened the Hong Kong situation to a "typhoon"-it is big, but it will pass eventually.

He said that in the beginning he feared the violence in Hong Kong would have a negative effect on Macao. However, Macao residents seemed determined to keep the turmoil from spilling over into their city.

"During my election campaign, many Macao civilians told me that Macao must not be involved in such chaos," he said, adding that the Hong Kong situation has made everyone understand what a mob is, what their rights are and how to balance their rights and obligations.

"Some people in Hong Kong today focus too much on their rights and overlook their obligations," Ho said.

During his election campaign, Ho said that over the past 20 years, Macao has demonstrated the great vitality of the "one country, two systems" principle.

Ho was born in Macao in June 1957. His father was born in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, and moved to Macao in the late 1940s. Ho started his career in business and began working in the local government after the handover in 1999.

In 2001, Ho was elected as the sole Macao member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. He was elected president of the Macao Legislative Assembly in 2013 and decided to run for chief executive this year. He won the election with a clear majority.

Ho said Macao, as a free port with world-renowned casinos, is depending too much on its gaming industry and related tourism and lacks diversity, which is "unhealthy and unsustainable".

Although Macao's university graduates are fully employed and well paid, about 80 percent of them work as dealers in casinos.

"This figure is shocking," he said. "University graduates can only work in casinos in order to earn good wages, but they have concerns over their personal development, which poses a big problem to Macao's future."

Ho said Macao needs to take advantage of the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in order to diversify its economy, and it is necessary to create more opportunities for Macao's young people to help them develop a vision that goes beyond the small SAR.

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