Storm on the Forum
The winds of change are contradictory. When Portuguese-speaking cadres leave Macau, it is said that the new power does not want them.
But when they are hired for teaching, or the few services with margin to recruit, the thesis loses rationale. The tense atmosphere and growing discredit at Forum Macau (see pages 6 to 8) affect the Portuguese-speaking narrative, swept up in the economic storm and pandemic lockdown.
But China guarantees that the plan has not changed. Therefore, the practice belies the discourse. And it is not now, with the exception of the present, that what the past designed for the future will be spoiled.
You have to know how to wait.
When the feet have ground, climb the mountain and see the horizon. Removing the BIR from the Forum delegates, without diplomatic communication, compensatory mechanisms… or institutional dignity, harms Portuguese-speaking diplomacy – without any need.
It is one thing to keep the Law; it’s another thing to do it by burning your tongue and losing your face. The Forum is under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce; it is a piece of global diplomacy, designed in Beijing, which calls on Portuguese-speaking partners to join it.
Local authorities have the right to act. But it also has a duty to do so with a perception of national – and global – interest.
Macau’s diversification is focused on the Greater Bay – and well. But this is precisely where the Portuguese-speaking bridge is a competitive advantage. Whatever the moment calls for, it is wise to do so without closing the doors that Beijing has opened. There is nothing in Xi Jinping’s speech that heralds cutting the bridges to the world.
In fact, they are all the more valuable as the West tries to block Chinese growth. What doesn’t make any sense is for Macau to cause discomfort and distrust in Portuguese-speaking diplomats. Comply with immigration law; as well as cost containment, it is expected that mobility will return….
The Forum lacks for many reasons, including local misunderstanding of what it stands for; errors in the original design and even in the strategy. What Macau cannot do is make the message that Beijing projects implode. The Law allows the Chief Executive to assign the BIR in exceptional cases.
He might consider doing so. But at the very least, it can always do politics, creating compensatory mechanisms and a diplomatic ethics that will weather the storm.
*Director General of PLATAFORMA