The Chief Executive, Mr Ho Iat Seng, said today, at a reception to mark the 74th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, that the country, as a strong and prosperous nation, had always provided solid support for Macao’s stable development and prosperity, bestowing the city’s population with confidence to overcome any difficulties and challenges head on.
He added that the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) Government and all sectors across Macao would redouble their efforts to live up to the high expectations of the Central Government, striving to achieve outstanding results ahead of the celebrations to mark next year the 25th anniversary of Macao’s return to the motherland.
Mr Ho’s remarks were made during a speech at a National Day reception hosted by the MSAR Government, at 9.30am, at the China-Portuguese-speaking Countries Commercial and Trade Service Platform Complex. The event was attended by approximately 900 guests, including: Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Mr Ho Hau Wa; the Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the MSAR, Mr Zheng Xincong; the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the MSAR, Mr Liu Xianfa; the Political Commissar of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Macao Garrison, Mr Yu Changjiang; the President of the Legislative Assembly, Mr Kou Hoi In; and the President of the Court of Final Appeal, Mr Sam Hou Fai. Also in attendance were: members of the Executive Council; members of the Legislative Assembly; principal officials of the MSAR Government; Macao’s delegates respectively to the National People’s Congress and to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference; and people from across the community.
During his speech, Mr Ho pointed out that 2023 marked the commencement of the full implementation of the spirit of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Throughout the year, the country had achieved general improvement in all areas, with notable advances in high-quality development and breakthroughs in technological innovation and green development. As overall development remained strong and China continued to prosper, the country’s vitality and comprehensive national power had strengthened significantly, with China embarking on a new journey to build a strong nation and advance national rejuvenation on all fronts, through the Chinese path to modernisation. National power strengthened based on every achievement of the nation, reflecting the hard work and contributions from people from all walks of life.
The Chief Executive expressed his gratitude to President Xi Jinping, who had always taken an interest in the development of Macao. Last May, President Xi sent a written reply to a group of scholars and students in Macao regarding the successful launch of the “Macao Science Satellite-1” space-exploration satellite, jointly developed by Macao and mainland China. Scholars, students, and people from all sectors in Macao were encouraged and motivated to participate in the development of the country as a world-class giant in the field of technology, with confidence and enthusiasm in pursuing the Chinese path to modernisation.
This year, the Central Government had made a major modification and improvement to its oversight system for Hong Kong and Macao affairs. A Hong Kong and Macao work office under the CPC Central Committee had been established, formed on the basis of the previously existing Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, with the aim of strengthening a centralised leadership regarding Hong Kong and Macao affairs. This demonstrated that the Central Government attached great importance to Hong Kong and Macao affairs, laying a solid foundation for ensuring Macao’s stability and prosperity, as well as the steady and successful practice of the “One country, two systems” principle.
In May this year, Mr Xia Baolong, Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, had visited Macao for a research and inspection tour. He raised six requirements regarding the development of the MSAR, which are important instructions for Macao’s overall advancement and for the work of the MSAR Government, said Mr Ho.
This year marked the fourth year in office of the fifth MSAR Government. Thanks to the beneficial policies and measures put in place by the Central Government, Macao’s economy was recovering well and with good momentum, the city’s industries were regaining vitality, local employment was improving, commodity prices remained stable, and economic indicators were positive, stated the Chief Executive. Meanwhile, Macao’s tourism sector continued enhancing its appeal to visitors. The number of tourists to Macao was rebounding significantly, and the city’s competitiveness and popularity was further strengthening. The MSAR Government was seizing the opportunities to take focused action, and spared no effort to promote social and economic recovery, supporting the city’s development and creating new horizons for Macao’s advancement.
Mr Ho detailed four key points to achieve further results regarding Macao’s development. First, Macao must optimise its legal system and law enforcement mechanism related to national security, and firmly safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests. The revised “Law on Safeguarding National Security” was promulgated and came into effect in May this year, fully embodying a holistic view of national security. At the same time, the MSAR Government is actively promoting the revision of the Chief Executive Election Law and the Legislative Assembly Election Law, to perfect the respective candidate qualification review mechanisms and related standards, together with other important contents, in order to ensure diligent implementation of the fundamental principle of “patriots governing Macao”.
Second, he said, Macao must expedite appropriate economic diversification. The MSAR Government is firmly implementing President Xi’s instructions to plan and further promote sustainable and healthy economic development, by executing plans adapted to Macao’s actual situation and making use of a scientific approach, in order to identify the main direction and major projects for promoting appropriate economic diversification, supporting them with suitable government policies as well as sufficient human and financial resources. The MSAR Government has begun preparing the Development Plan for Appropriate Economic Diversification of the MSAR (2024-2028), covering the coming five years.
Third, the MSAR Government must continue to ensure – and improve – people’s well-being. The MSAR Government has always adhered to the fundamental concept of governing for the people: the improvement of people’s standard of living has high priority in the government’s agenda. Throughout 2023, the MSAR Government has actively taken measures to continuously introduce improvements in the fields of education, healthcare, employment, housing, and transportation, striving to enhance people’s sense of satisfaction and happiness. Despite a decrease in fiscal revenue, the MSAR Government still ensured that financial resources invested in education, healthcare, and social welfare remained unaffected.
Fourth, the MSAR Government should make every effort to promote the development of the Guangdong-Macao Intensive Cooperation Zone in Hengqin. Since its inauguration and commencement of operations, the administrative body of the Cooperation Zone has closely focused on promoting Macao’s appropriate economic diversification. The mechanism for “mutual discussions, joint construction, joint administration and shared benefits” between Guangdong and Macao is running smoothly; the advancement of the “four new industries” identified for the development of Hengqin is achieving favourable results; and facilities for supporting people’s livelihoods are being optimised with Macao-related elements. Especially since the start of this year, major regulations and policies are being implemented, key projects are being expedited, and the integrated development of Macao and Hengqin is being deepened, laying a solid foundation for completing in 2024 the first phase of the development goals for the Cooperation Zone.
In his speech, Mr Ho emphasised that the Macao community should strengthen its confidence in the future, comprehensively and correctly uphold the “One country, two systems” principle, firmly safeguard the overall jurisdiction of the Central Government over Macao, and firmly safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests. He added that the MSAR Government should continue to implement the fundamental principle of “patriots governing Macao”, make every effort to promote the MSAR’s appropriate economic diversification and the development of the Cooperation Zone, focus on improving people’s livelihoods, solve the deep-rooted problems that constrain Macao's social and economic development, and actively push for the integration of Macao into the country’s overall development.
Earlier this morning, at 8am, the Chief Executive and circa 550 guests attended a National Day flag-raising ceremony held at Golden Lotus Square. Guests included: the Chief Executive and his wife; the heads of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the MSAR; leading officials of the Legislative Assembly and of the judiciary; members of the Executive Council; members of the Legislative Assembly; principal officials of the MSAR Government; and Macao’s delegates respectively to the National People’s Congress and to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.