Special Administrative Region
Located west of the Pearl River estuary in Guangdong Province, 40
nautical miles west of Hong Kong, Macao’s 23.5 sq km of territory
comprises the Macao Peninsula, Taipa Island and Coloane Island and
is inhabited by about 450,000 people. Macao has been a part of Chinese
territory since ancient times. When Emperor Qin Shi Huang unified
China in the third century B.C., Macao was formally included in
China’s territory and became a part of Fanyu County, Nanhai Prefecture;
later it was included in Xiangshan County (today’s Zhongshan City).
In 1553, the Portuguese bribed local government officials in Guangdong
to gain permission to drop anchor in Macao’s harbor and engage in
trade. In 1557, the Portuguese began to settle nearby. In the period
following the Opium War of 1840, taking advantage of the weakness
of the Qing government, the Portuguese successively seized Taipa
and Coloane islands to the south of the Macao Peninsula. In 1887,
the Portuguese government forced the Qing government to sign the
“Draft Agreement of the Sino-Portuguese Meeting” and subsequently
the “Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Peking,” providing that “Portugal
will administer Macao and subordinate areas in perpetuity, as any
other region governed by Portugal.” Since then, Portugal has occupied
The Chinese people have never recognized those unequal treaties.
The government of the PRC has repeatedly stated the facts that Macao
has always been a part of Chinese territory, and that the Macao
issue is a question left over by history. China has consistently
maintained that at the appropriate time a peaceful, negotiated solution
to this problem inherited from the past should be found. When diplomatic
relations were established between China and Portugal in 1979, the
Portuguese government recognized Macao as Chinese territory, and
the two sides agreed that the question of Macao should be solved
through bilateral negotiations in due time. Between June 1986 and
March 1987, delegations from the two governments held four rounds
of talks. Finally, on April 13, 1987, the “Joint Declaration on
the Question of Macao by the
May 5, 1998, the unveiling ceremony of the coutdown device of Macao's
return to China was held at Tiananmen Square.
Kok Miu, or A Ma Temple, is the oldest ruin in Macao, with a history
of more than 500 years.
racecourse in Macao.
Governments of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of
Portugal” was formally signed in Beijing. The Joint Declaration
includes the formulation: “The Government of the People’s Republic
of China will resume sovereignty over Macao effective December 20,
1999.” On December 20, 1999, the Chinese and Portuguese governments
held a hand-over ceremony as scheduled, marking the resumption of
sovereignty by China over Macao. At the same time, the Macao Special
Administrative Region (MSAR) was formally established, and the Basic
Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region, adopted in March
1993 at the First Session of the Eighth National People’s Congress,
came into effect.
When the MSAR is officially founded, the Chinese government will
carry out the basic policies of “one country, two systems,” “administration
of Macao by the Macao people” and “a high degree of autonomy” in
Macao. The MSAR shall enjoy a high degree of autonomy, and its political,
economic, cultural and educational systems shall be similar to those
of the HKSAR. The Chief Excutive of the MSAR is HO Hau-Wah.