It’s not just Hong Kong that wants a greater voice in selecting its own government — its smaller cousin Macau is increasingly demanding wider democratic choice as well.
Earlier this summer, activists in Hong Kong waged an increasingly vocal campaign to bring greater democracy to the special administrative region (SAR), through an online referendum advocating the direct election of Hong Kong’s chief executive in 2017, and a movement, ‘Occupy Central with Love and Peace,’ that’s threatened to shut down the city’s downtown core in protest.
The central Chinese government responded with a white paper that appeared to disregard some of the fundamental tenets of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle that’s guided Hong Kong’s administration since its handover from British to Chinese authorities in 1997, forcing Hong Kong’s chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, not known for his democratic sympathies, to work to reduce tension between the two camps.
Perhaps no one was watching the tussle between Hong Kong and Beijing more than the residents of Macau, where its own chief executive, Fernando Chui, will almost certainly win reelection on August 31.
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Macau, like Hong Kong, reverted only recently to Chinese control — in 1999 from Portuguese colonial authority that stretched back to the 17th century. Like Hong Kong, Macau operates on the principle of ‘one country, two systems,’ and it has its own Basic Law guiding the election of a chief executive and legislature. Unlike Hong Kong, however, Macau’s Basic Law does not include a commitment to ‘one-person, one-vote’ suffrage.
Nevertheless, Macanese activists are organizing their own weeklong referendum on electoral reform meant to coincide with the chief executive election in the hopes of advocating direct election in the next contest in 2019. Continue reading Chui faces easy reelection as Macau’s residents demand democracy