A transfer of sovereignty that would be protected for 50 years was precipitated by the winds of revolt in Hong Kong. Macau was not positioned on the axis of the neighboring region, nor did that interest it – the economic precipice was certain and worse than the one it faces now.
However, after the rain of criticism from the West over the situation in Hong Kong, the spotlight turned to Macau, concerned about the process triggered by the pandemic. Limitations on freedom, intolerance of contradictory political movements, press cases, the “forgetfulness” of bilingualism in the administration of justice and even the “pre-selection of judges” for cases involving national security. All these are arguments given by the UN that, faster than expected, Macau is changing; and it is going where the Organization does not want to go: towards China, which has never ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The MSAR wants to be on both sides – China also wants the same for the city – because being independent from the gaming industry advocates that. The Chinese special administrative regions will always be a gateway for foreign and Chinese interests, respectively, but who dictates this flow is China.
As far as depending on the Asian dragon, there will never be a context similar to that of Hong Kong, and that is why it leads to change, both politically and economically – turning Macau and Hong Kong to the Greater Bay. But it also knows that it needs these regions to play their cards internationally.
First, because the political image of China still antagonizes – the West does not see itself in it and even despises it. Second, on an economic level, the West fears the future and tries to freeze Chinese growth and influence. Therefore, in projecting its image, it is not in China’s interest to abdicate autonomous regions – capable of being inside and outside (One Country, Two Systems). In the curtain of the pandemic, the degree of autonomy and freedom that Macau may have is at stake.
*Executive Director of PLATAFORMA