From the South China Morning Post (excerpt) — China’s President Xi Jinping began a three-day visit to Macau on Wednesday to mark the 20th anniversary of its return to Chinese rule, heaping praise on the city’s government for “fully and accurately” implementing the “one country, two systems” principle under which it is administered and for defending national security.
Xi made no mention of neighbouring Hong Kong, which has been rocked by anti-government and anti-Beijing protests since June, but his contrasting compliments for Macau were widely interpreted as disapproval of the former British colony’s performance.
Hours before his arrival, six activists and at least six more journalists from Hong Kong were denied entry to Macau as the authorities placed the city under an unprecedented security lockdown.
Xi, visiting Macau for the second time since 2014, is expected to announce new policies aimed at diversifying the casino hub’s economy and developing it into an international financial centre.
In his four-minute speech, Xi urged Macau residents to work together and map out a “beautiful blueprint” for the city’s future development.
According to the official Xinhua news agency, Xi told Macau’s outgoing leader Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on that his administration had “fully and accurately” implemented its governing formula, and worked in accordance with China’s constitution and the city’s own Basic Law, or mini-constitution.