Início » Economy, security and patriotism

Economy, security and patriotism

Paulo Rego*

The game’s revenue, which this year will be around 180 billion patacas, far exceeds the projection put forward by the Executive at the beginning of the year: 130 billion. It is far from being the best result ever, but it is clearly positive for the circumstances, just one year after the reopening of the borders. But it is also true that recovery is not for everyone and that the Government’s focus on controlling costs complicates life for the majority of non-gaming service providers.

After three years of forced paralysis, during which people’s health and the ideological narrative took over the political and media space throughout China, this was the year in which it was possible to regain focus on the Economy. But not necessarily in opposition to other political realities. Covid accelerated the conversion of the official discourse into a patriotic and security playbook which, with the virus and the external enemy as nationalist glue, would theoretically lose strength from the moment that economic recovery also needs globalization and international relations. But this is not exactly what happens in practice.

The issue in Macau has very particular contours, which are even more difficult to accept. Firstly, because there are simply no security problems, in the sense of the longevity of the regime or obedience to the guidelines of the Mother Country. Which is why there is less and less understanding where the need to impose this shadow on the horizon can be seen.

Ho Iat Seng’s official trip to Lisbon, in April, seemed to have heralded the return to an era of external ambition and reaffirmation of the Portuguese-speaking project, with priority given to Sino-Portuguese relations. Despite the importance of this trip; because it was Ho Iat Seng’s first trip abroad, because it had Portugal as its destination, and because it was made in the post-Covid context… the year ends without these signs gaining credibility and dimension. There was no complementary strategic step to this trip, nor have any others been announced that would allow us to glimpse any Portuguese-speaking international aspects.

The year ends with a trip by the Chief Executive to Beijing, which is very enlightening from the point of view of internal priorities. Firstly, because this meeting with Xi Jinping allowed Ho Iat Seng, for the first time, to rehearse a speech that goes beyond the horizon of his first term, as if pre-announcing a second. But also because the obsession with the National Security Law and patriotic oaths, during official meetings in Beijing, make it very clear that the regime continues to favor a discourse more inward than outward. This, despite several dual discourses – or contradictory, depending on the perspective.

The same doubt arises when promoting economic diversification, at the same time handing over increasingly more social and cultural responsibilities to casinos. Or when trying to prove that the Second System is safe and evolved, as long as it bows to the First. It is impossible to sell the difference to China if we copy it slavishly; Macau’s DNA does not exist in the Greater Bay Area, because it resists ceasing to be passive; We don’t understand, at all, an open door to the world, which we don’t seem to want to deal with…

*General Director of PLATAFORMA


Contact Us

Generalist media, focusing on the relationship between Portuguese-speaking countries and China.

Plataforma Studio


Subscribe Plataforma Newsletter to keep up with everything!