(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)
|Introduction||Colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Macau was the first European settlement in the Far East. Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and Portugal on 13 April 1987, Macau became the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 20 December 1999. In this agreement, China has promised that, under its “one country, two systems” formula, China’s socialist economic system will not be practiced in Macau, and that Macau will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs for the next 50 years.|
|History||The recorded history of Macau can be traced back to the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC), when the region now called Macau came under the jurisdiction of Panyu County, Nanhai Prefecture of the province of Guangdong. The first recorded inhabitants of the area were people seeking refuge in Macau from invading Mongols, during the Southern Song Dynasty. Later in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 AD), fishermen migrated to Macau from various parts of Guangdong and Fujian provinces. However, Macau did not develop as a major settlement until the Portuguese arrived in the 16th century. In 1535, the Portuguese traders obtained the right to anchor ships in Macau’s harbours and the right to carry out trading activities, though not the right to stay onshore. Around 1552–1553, they obtained a temporary permission to erect storage sheds onshore, in order to dry out goods drenched by sea water. They later built some rudimentary stone-houses around the area now called Nam Van. But not until 1557 did the Portuguese establish a permanent settlement in Macau, at an annual rent of 500 taels of silver.
St. Paul’s Cathedral by George Chinnery (1774—1852). The cathedral was built in 1602 and destroyed by fire in 1835. Today only the southern stone façade remains.
Since then, more Portuguese settled in Macau to engage in trading activities, and there were demands for self-administration. In 1576, Macau was established as an episcopal see by Pope Gregory XIII. In 1583, the Portuguese in Macau were permitted to form a Senate to handle various issues concerning their social and economic affairs, with the understanding that there was no transfer of sovereignty. Macau prospered as a port but was the target of repeated attempts by the Dutch to conquer it in the 17th century. Following the Opium War (1839–42), Portugal occupied Taipa and Coloane in 1851 and 1864 respectively. In 1887, the Qing government was forced to sign the Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Amity and Commerce, under which China ceded to Portugal the right of “perpetual occupation and government of Macau”; conversely, Portugal pledged to seek China’s approval before transferring Macau to another country. Macau officially became a Portuguese colony.
After the Qing Dynasty was overthrown following the Xinhai Revolution, in 1928 the Kuomintang government officially notified Portugal that it was abrogating the former treaty, and in its place the Sino-Portuguese Friendship and Trade Treaty was signed. Making only a few provisions concerning tariff principles and matters relating to business affairs, the treaty failed to mention the question with regard to the sovereignty of Macau. Consequently, the situation of Portuguese occupation and government of Macau remained unchanged. After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Beijing government declared the Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Amity and Commerce to be invalid as an “unequal treaty” imposed by foreigners on China. However, Beijing was not ready to settle the treaty question, leaving the maintenance of “the status quo” until a more appropriate time.
The flag used by the Portuguese Government of Macau until 1999.
In 1966, with the general dissatisfaction of the Portuguese government and under the influence of the Cultural Revolution in mainland China, more serious riots broke out in Macau. The most serious one is the so-called 12-3 incident that resulted in more than 200 people killed or injured. On January 28, 1967 the Portuguese government signed a statement of apology. This marked the beginning of equal treatment and recognition of Chinese identity and of de facto Chinese control of the colony, as an official apology underlined the fact that after 1949, administration of Macau continued only at the behest of the mainland communist government. Shortly after the Carnation Revolution leftist military coup of 1974 in Lisbon, the newly assigned government of Portugal was determined to relinquish all its overseas possessions. In 1976, Lisbon redefined Macau as a “Chinese territory under Portuguese administration,” and granted it a large measure of administrative, financial and economic autonomy. Portugal and China agreed in 1979 to regard Macau as “a Chinese territory under (temporary) Portuguese administration”. Negotiations between the Chinese and Portuguese governments on the question of Macau started in June 1986. In 1987, an international treaty, known as the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration, was signed to make Macau a special administrative region of China. The Chinese government assumed sovereignty over Macau on December 20, 1999.
|Geography||Location: Eastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and China
Geographic coordinates: 22 10 N, 113 33 E
Map references: Southeast Asia
Area: total: 28.2 sq km
land: 28.2 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: less than one-sixth the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: total: 0.34 km
regional border: China 0.34 km
Coastline: 41 km
Maritime claims: not specified
Climate: subtropical; marine with cool winters, warm summers
Terrain: generally flat
Elevation extremes: lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: Coloane Alto 172.4 m
Natural resources: NEGL
Land use: arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Natural hazards: typhoons
Environment – current issues: NA
Environment – international agreements: party to: Marine Dumping (associate member), Ship Pollution (associate member)
Geography – note: essentially urban; an area of land reclaimed from the sea measuring 5.2 sq km and known as Cotai now connects the islands of Coloane and Taipa; the island area is connected to the mainland peninsula by three bridges
|Politics||The Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, Macau’s constitution promulgated by China’s National People’s Congress in 1993, specify that Macau’s social and economic system, lifestyle, rights, and freedoms are to remain unchanged for at least 50 years after the transfer of sovereignty to China in 1999. Under the principle of “one country, two systems”, Macau enjoys a high degree of autonomy in all areas except in defence and foreign affairs. Macau officials, rather than PRC officials, run Macau through the exercise of separate executive, legislative, and judicial powers, as well as the right to final adjudication. Macau maintains its own separate currency, customs territory, immigration and border controls, and police force.
The Macau government is headed by the chief executive, who is appointed by the central government upon the recommendation of an election committee, whose three hundred members are nominated by corporate and community bodies. The recommendation is made by an election within the committee. The chief executive’s cabinet comprise five policy secretaries and is advised by the Executive Council that has between seven and eleven members. Edmund Ho Hau Wah, a community leader and former banker, is the first chief executive of the Macau SAR, replacing General Vasco Rocha Vieira at midnight on December 20, 1999. Ho is currently serving his second term of office.
The legislative organ of the territory is the Legislative Assembly, a 29-member body comprising 12 directly elected members, ten indirectly elected members representing functional constituencies and seven members appointed by the chief executive.Any permanent residents at or over 18 years of age are eligible to vote in direct elections. For indirect election, it is only limited to organisations registered as “corporate voters” and a 300-member election committee drawn from broad regional groupings, municipal organisations, and central governmental bodies. The basic and original framework of the legal system of Macau, based largely on Portuguese law or Portuguese civil law system, is preserved after 1999. The territory has its own independent judicial system, with a high court. Judges are selected by a committee and appointed by the chief executive. Foreign judges may serve on the courts. Macau has a three-tier court system: the Court of the First Instance, the Court of the Second Instance and the Court of Final Appeal.
|People||Population: 460,823 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 14.7% (male 35,107/female 32,756)
15-64 years: 77.1% (male 169,317/female 186,069)
65 years and over: 8.2% (male 16,053/female 21,521) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 37 years
male: 36.4 years
female: 37.5 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.83% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 8.73 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 4.72 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 4.28 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 4.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.49 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.11 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 82.35 years
male: 79.52 years
female: 85.33 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.05 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Chinese
Ethnic groups: Chinese 95.7%, Macanese (mixed Portuguese and Asian ancestry) 1%, other 3.3% (2001 census)
Religions: Buddhist 50%, Roman Catholic 15%, none and other 35% (1997 est.)
Languages: Cantonese 87.9%, Hokkien 4.4%, Mandarin 1.6%, other Chinese dialects 3.1%, other 3% (2001 census)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91.3%