Macau Special Administrative Region ( ; Portuguese: Região Administrativa
Especial de Macau), commonly known as Macau or
Macao ( , ), is one of the two special
administrative regions of the People's
Republic of China, the other being Hong Kong. Macau lies on the western side of the
Delta, bordering Guangdong
province in the north and facing the South China Sea in the east and south.
- "Aomen" redirects here. For the island in the
Pacific Ocean, see Aomen
- For a topic outline on this subject, see List of basic Macau topics.
For other uses, see Macau
The territory has
thriving industries such as textiles, electronics and toys, and a
notable tourist industry. This makes it one of the richest cities
in the world.
Macau was both the first and last European colony in China.
Portuguese traders first settled in Macau in the 16th century and
subsequently administered the region until the handover on 20 December
. The Sino-Portuguese Joint
and the Basic Law of
stipulate that Macau operates with a high degree of
until at least 2049,
fifty years after the transfer. Under the policy of "one country, two systems
is responsible for the territory's defense and
foreign affairs, while Macau maintains its own legal system
, police force
, monetary system,
customs policy, immigration
, and delegates to international organisations and
Portuguese settlement in the early 16th century, Macau was
known as Haojing (Oyster Mirror) or Jinghai
(Mirror Sea). The name Macau is thought to be
derived from the A-Ma
Temple ( ; ), a temple built in 1448 dedicated to
Matsu — the goddess of seafarers and
It is said that when the Portuguese sailors
landed at the coast just outside the temple and asked the name of
the place, the natives replied "媽閣" ( ). The Portuguese then named
the peninsula "Macau". The present Chinese name 澳門 ( ) means "Inlet
history of Macau is traced back to the Qin
Dynasty (221–206 BC), when the region now called Macau came
under the jurisdiction of Panyu county, in Nanhai prefecture
(present day Guangdong).
The first recorded inhabitants of the area
were people seeking refuge in Macau from invading Mongols
during the Southern Song Dynasty
. Under the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 AD), fishermen migrated to Macau from
Guangdong and Fujian
But Macau did not develop as a major settlement
until the Portuguese arrived in the 16th century. In 1535,
Portuguese traders obtained the rights to anchor ships in Macau's
harbours and to carry out trading activities, though not the right
to stay onshore. Around 1552–1553, they obtained temporary
permission to erect storage sheds onshore, in order to dry out
goods drenched by sea water; they soon built rudimentary stone
houses around the area now called Nam Van. In 1557, the Portuguese
established a permanent settlement in Macau, paying an annual rent
of 500 taels
As more Portuguese settled in Macau to engage in trading, they made
demands for self-administration; but this was not achieved until
the 1840s., by CCTV In 1576, Pope
established the Roman Catholic Diocese of
. In 1583, the Portuguese in Macau were permitted to form
a Senate to handle various issues concerning their social and
economic affairs under strict supervision of the Chinese authority,
by CCTV but there was no transfer of sovereignty. Macau prospered as a
port but was the target of repeated failed attempts by the Dutch to conquer it in the 17th century.
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", and Portugal
pledged to seek China's approval before transferring Macau to
another country; Macau officially became a Portuguese
In 1928, after the Qing Dynasty had been overthrown following the
, the Kuomintang
(KMT) government officially notified
Portugal that it was abrogating the Treaty of Amity and Commerce;
the two powers signed a new Sino-Portuguese Friendship and Trade
Treaty in place of the abrogated treaty. Making only a few
provisions concerning tariff principles and matters relating to
business affairs, the new treaty did not alter the sovereignty of
Macau and Portuguese 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
” 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.
Influenced by the Cultural
in mainland China and by general dissatisfaction
with Portuguese government, riots broke out in Macau in 1966. In
the most serious, the so-called 12-3
, 6 people were killed and more than 200 people were
injured. On 28 January 1967, the Portuguese government issued a
formal apology. This marked the beginning of equal treatment and
recognition of Chinese identity and of de facto
control of the colony, as an official apology implicitly recognized
that administration of Macau continued only as tolerated by the
Communist government of the Chinese mainland.
after the overthrow of the Salazar
dictatorship in 1974 in Lisbon, the new
determined it would 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. Three years
later, Portugal and China agreed to regard Macau as "a Chinese
territory under (temporary) Portuguese administration". The Chinese
and Portuguese governments commenced negotiations on the question
of Macau in June 1986. The two signed a Sino-Portuguese Joint
Declaration the next year, making Macau a special administrative
region (SAR) of China. The Chinese government assumed formal
sovereignty over Macau on 20 December 1999.
Government and politics
Headquarters of the Government of
Macau, previously the Governor's House until 1999.
The Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, Macau's
constitution promulgated by China's National People's Congress
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
territory, immigration and border controls, and police force.
The government in Macau 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 is made up of
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
at midnight on December 20, 1999. Ho is currently
serving his second term of office. The chief executive and the
cabinet have their offices in the Macau Government Headquarters
located in the former area of the St. Lawrence Parish
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.
permanent residents at or over 18 years of age are eligible to vote
in direct elections. Indirect election is limited to organizations
registered as "corporate voters" and a 300-member election
committee drawn from broad regional groupings, municipal
organizations, and central government bodies. The original
framework of the legal system, based largely on Portuguese law
or Portuguese civil law
system, was 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
. In February 2009, the Legislative Assembly passed a
the withdrawn security
previously introduced in Hong Kong. Democracy
advocates feared that the bill's excessively broad scope could lead
to abuses, a concern which has been heightened after a number of
prominent supporters of democracy in Hong Kong were denied entry
into Macau in the run-up to the bill's passage.
situated southwest of Hong
Kong and from Guangzhou. It consists of the
Peninsula itself and
the islands of Taipa and Coloane. The peninsula is formed by the Zhujiang (Pearl River) estuary on the
east and the Xijiang (West River) on the
west. It borders the Zhuhai Special Economic Zone in mainland
China. The main border crossing between Macau and
China is known as the Portas do Cerco (Barrier Gate) on the Macau side, and the Gongbei Port of Entry on the Zhuhai
Landscape of Penha Hill in
Macau Peninsula was originally an island, but a
gradually turned into a
, thus changing Macau into a
peninsula. Land reclamation in the 17th century transformed Macau
into a peninsula with generally flat terrain, though numerous steep
hills still mark the original land mass. Alto de Coloane is the
highest point in Macau, with an altitude of . With a dense urban environment
, Macau has no arable land,
pastures, forest , or woodland.
Macau has a humid subtropical
, with average humidity between 75% and 90%. Seasonal
climate is greatly influenced by the monsoons
, and differences in temperature between
summer and winter are marked. The average annual temperature of
Macau is . July is the warmest month, with average temperature
being . The coolest month is January, with average temperature .
Located in the coastal region of south of China, Macau has ample
rainfall, with average annual precipitation
being . However,
winter is mostly dry due to the monsoon from mainland China. Autumn
in Macau, from October to December, is sunny and warm with low
humidity. Winter (January to March) is relatively cold but sunny.
Humidity starts to increase in spring from April to June, and in
summer from July to September, the climate is warm to hot and humid
with rain and occasional typhoons.
|Employed population byoccupation 2007
|Service & sale workers
|Workers in agriculture/fishery
|Craft & similar workers
Macau's economy is based largely on tourism, much of it geared
toward gambling. Other chief economic activities in Macau are
export-geared textile and garment manufacturing, banking and other
financial services. The clothing industry has provided about three
quarters of export earnings, and the gaming, tourism and
hospitality industry is estimated to contribute more than 50% of
, and 70% of Macau
a founding member of the WTO and has maintained
sound economic and trade relations with more than 120 countries and
regions, with European Union and
Portuguese-speaking countries in particular; Macau is also a member of the
The World Bank
classifies Macau as a high income economy and the GDP per capita of
the region in 2006 was US$28,436. After the Handover
in 1999, there
has been a rapid rise in the number of mainland visitors due to
China's easing of travel restrictions. Together with the
liberalization of Macau's gaming industry in 2001 that induces
significant investment inflows, the average growth rate
of the economy between 2001 and
2006 was approximately 13.1% annually.
In a World Tourism
report of international tourism for 2006, Macau
ranked 21st in the number of tourists and 24th in terms of tourism
receipts. From 9.1 million visitors in 2000, arrivals to Macau has
grown to 18.7 million visitors in 2005 and 22 million visitors in
2006, with over 50% of the arrivals coming from mainland China and
another 30% from Hong Kong. Macau is expected to receive between 24
and 25 million visitors in 2007. Since the Handover, Triad
underworld violence, a deterring factor
for tourists, has virtually disappeared, to the benefit of the
Starting in 1962, the gambling industry had been operated under a
government-issued monopoly license by Stanley
's Sociedade de
Turismo e Diversões de Macau
. The monopoly ended in 2002, and
several casino owners from Las Vegas
attempted to enter the
market. With the opening of the Sands Macau, the largest casino in the world as measured by
total number of table games, in 2004 and Wynn
Macau in 2006, gambling revenues from Macau's casinos were for
the first time greater than those of Las Vegas Strip (each about $6 billion), making Macau the
highest-volume gambling centre in the world. In 2007, Venetian
Macau, at the time the second (now fourth) largest building in the
world by floor space, opened its doors to the public, followed
by MGM Grand
Numerous other hotel casinos, including
Galaxy Cotai Megaresort and Ponte 16
also to be opened in the near future.
In 2002, the Macau government ended the monopoly system and six
casino operating concessions and subconcessions are granted to
de Turismo e Diversões de Macau
, Las Vegas Sands
Galaxy Entertainment Group
partnership of MGM Mirage
and Pansy Ho
(daughter of Stanley Ho
), and the
partnership of Melco and PBL
. Today, there are 16
casinos operated by the STDM, and they are still crucial in the
casino industry in Macau, but in 2004, the opening of the Sands Macau ushered in the new era.
Macau is an offshore financial
, a tax haven
, and a free port
with no foreign exchange control
regimes. The Monetary
Authority of Macau
regulates offshore finance, while the Macau
Trade and Investment Promotion Institute provides services for
investment in Macau. In 2007, Moody's Investors Service
Macau's foreign and local currency government issuer ratings to
'Aa3' from 'A1', citing its government's solid finances as a large
net creditor. The rating agency also upgraded Macau's foreign
currency bank deposit ceiling to 'Aa3' from 'A1'.
As prescribed by the Macau Basic
, the government
the principle of keeping expenditure within the limits of revenues
in drawing up its budget, and strive to achieve a fiscal balance
, avoid deficits
and keep the budget commensurate with the
growth rate of its gross domestic
. All the financial revenues
the Macau Special Administrative Region shall be managed and
controlled by the Region itself and shall not be handed over to the
. The Central People's Government shall not
levy any taxes
in the Macau Special
Macau is the most densely
region in the world, with a population density of
18,428 persons per square kilometre (47,728/sq mi). 95% of Macau's
population is Chinese; another 2% is of Portuguese and/or mixed
Chinese/Portuguese descent, an ethnic group often referred to as
. According to the 2006
by-census, 47% of the residents were born in mainland China, of
whom 74.1% born in Guangdong and 15.2% in Fujian.
Meanwhile, 42.5% of the residents were born in Macau, and those
born in Hong Kong, the Philippines and Portugal shared 3.7%, 2.0%
and 0.3% respectively.
The growth of population in Macau mainly relies on immigrants from
mainland China and the influx of overseas workers since its birth
rate is one of the lowest in the world. According to a recent
survey conducted by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA), Macau is the top country/region for life expectancy
birth with an average of 84.36 years, while its infant mortality
ranks among the lowest in the world.
) and Portuguese
are Macau's official
languages. Standard Macanese
is identical to European Portuguese
. Other languages
such as Mandarin
are also spoken by some local communities. The Macanese language
, a distinctive creole
generally known as Patuá
still spoken by several dozen Macanese.
Most Chinese in Macau are profoundly influenced by their own
tradition and culture, of which most take part in Chinese folk religion
, of which the
faiths of Taoism
, form an integral part. Macau has
a sizable Christian community; Roman
7% and 2% of the population respectively. In addition, 17% of the
population follow original Mahayana
Since Macau has an economy driven by tourism, 14.6% of the
workforce is employed in restaurants and hotels, and 10.3% in the
gambling industry. With the opening of several casino resorts and
other major constructions underway, many sectors reportedly
experience a shortage of labor, and the government seeks to import
labor from neighboring regions.
The number of imported workers stood at a record high of 98,505 in
the second quarter of 2008, representing more than 25% of the labor
force in Macau. Some local workers complain about the lack of jobs
due to the influx of cheap imported labor. Some also claim that the
problem of illegal labor is severe. Another concern is the widening
of income inequality in the region. Macau's Gini coefficient
, a popular measure of
income inequality where a low value indicates a more equal income
distribution, rises from 0.43 in 1998 to 0.48 in 2006. It is higher than
those of neighboring regions, such as mainland China (0.447), South
Korea (0.316) and Singapore (0.425).
A fifteen-year free education is currently being offered to
residents, that includes a three-year kindergarten, followed by a
six-year primary education and a six-year secondary education. The
of the territory is
93.5%. The illiterates are mainly among the senior residents aged
65 or above; the younger generation, for example the population
aged 15–29, has a literacy rate of above 99%. Currently, there is
only one school in Macau where Portuguese is the medium of
Macau does not have its own universal education system;
non-tertiary schools follow either the British, the Chinese, or the
Portuguese education system. There are currently 10 tertiary
educational institutions in the region, four of them being public.
In 2006, the Programme for
International Student Assessment
, a worldwide test of
15-year-old schoolchildren's scholastic performance coordinated by
, ranked Macau as the fifth and sixth in
science and problem solving respectively. Nevertheless, education
levels in Macau are low among high income regions. According to the
2006 by-census, among the resident population aged 14 and above,
only 51.8% has a secondary education and 12.6% has a tertiary
As prescribed by the Basic Law of
Chapter VI Article 121, the Government of Macau
shall, on its own,
formulate policies on education
policies regarding the educational system and its administration,
of instruction, the allocation
of funds, the examination
recognition of educational qualifications and the system of
academic awards so as to promote educational development. The
government shall also in accordance with law, gradually institute a
Community organisations and individuals may, in accordance with
law, run educational undertakings of various kinds.
Macau is served by one major public hospital, the Hospital Conde S.
Januário, and one major
private hospital, the Hospital Kiang Wu, both located in Macau Peninsula, as well as a
university hospital called Macau
University of Science and Technology Hospital in Cotai.
In addition to hospitals, Macau also has
numerous health centres providing free basic medical care to
residents. Consultation in traditional Chinese medicine
also available. Currently none of the Macau hospitals is
independently assessed through international healthcare
. There are no western-style medical schools in
Macau and thus all aspiring physicians in Macau have to obtain
their education and qualification elsewhere. Local nurses are
trained at the Macau Polytechnic Institute and the Kiang Wu
College. Currently there are no
training courses in midwifery
The Health Bureau in Macau is mainly responsible for coordinating
the activities between the public and private organisations in the
area of public health
, and assure the
health of citizens through specialised and primary health care
services, as well as
disease prevention and health
. The Macau Centre for
Disease Control and Prevention
was established in 2001, which
monitors the operation of hospitals, health centres, and the
centre in Macau.
It also handles the organisation of care and prevention of diseases
affecting the population, sets guidelines for hospitals and private
health care providers, and issues licences
In Macau traffic moves on the left. Macau has a well-established public
transport network connecting the Macau Peninsula, Cotai, Taipa Island and Coloane Island.
Buses and taxis are the major modes of
public transport in Macau. Currently two companies, namely Transmac
and Transportas Companhia de
, operate franchised public bus services in Macau. The
, a hybrid of the tricycle and the
rickshaw, is also available, though it is mainly for sightseeing
Harbour Ferry Terminal provides cross-border transportation
services for passengers travelling between Macau and Hong Kong,
while the Yuet Tung Terminal in the Inner Harbour serves those
travelling between Macau and cities in mainland China, including
Shekou and Shenzhen.
one active international airport, known as Macau
International Airport located at the eastern end of Taipa and
neighbouring waters. Since currently there are no regular direct
passenger-flights between mainland China and Taiwan, the airport
serves as a transient avenue for the passengers travelling between
the two regions.
It is the primary hub for Viva Macau
. In 2006, the airport handled about 5 million
The mixing of the Chinese
religious traditions for more than four centuries has left Macau
with an inimitable collection of holidays, festivals and events.
The biggest event of the year is the Macau Grand Prix
in November, when the main
streets in Macau Peninsula are converted to a racetrack bearing
similarities with the Monaco Grand
. Other annual events include Macau Arts festival in March,
the International Fireworks Display Contest in September, the
International Music festival in October and/or November, and the
Macau International Marathon in December.
The Lunar Chinese New Year
most important traditional festival and celebration normally takes
place in late January or early February. The Pou Tai Un Temple in
Taipa is the place for the Feast of Tou Tei, the Earth god, in
February. The Procession of the Passion of Our Lord is a well-known
Catholic rite and journey, which travels from Igreja de Santo
Agostinho to Igreja da Sé Catedral, also taking place in February.
A-Ma Temple, which honours the Goddess Matsu, is in full swing in
April with many congratulant worshippers during the A-Ma festival.
To look on dancing dragons at the Feast of the Drunken Dragon and
twinkling-clean Buddhas at the Feast of Bathing of Lord Buddha in
May is common. In Coloane Village
god Tam Kong is also honoured on
the same day. Dragon Boat
is brought into play on Nam Van Lake in June and
Hungry Ghosts' festival, in late August and/or early September
every year. All events and festivities of the year end with
Local cooking in Macau consists of a blend of Cantonese
cuisines. Many unique dishes
resulted from the spice blends that the wives of Portuguese sailors
used in an attempt to replicate European dishes. Its ingredients
and seasonings include those from Europe, South America, Africa,
India, and Southeast Asia, as well as local Chinese ingredients.
Typically, Macanese food is seasoned with various spices and
flavours including turmeric
, coconut milk
, giving special aromas and
tastes. Famous dishes include Galinha à Portuguesa
, Galinha à
Africana (African chicken), Bacalhau
Macanese Chili Shrimps and stir-fry
crab. Pork chop bun
, ginger milk
and Portuguese-style egg tart
are also very popular in
Macau preserves many historical properties in the urban area.
Centre of Macau, which includes some twenty-five historic monuments
and public squares, was officially listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on July 15,
2005 during the 29th session of the World Heritage Committee, held in
- Macau Yearbook 2007, 475.
- Chan, 12-13.
- Fung, 5.
- Macau Yearbook 2007, 517.
- Fung, 298.
- Chan, 3-4.
- Fung, 5-6.
- Fung, 7.
- History of the Qing (清史稿)
- Macau Yearbook 2007, 518.
- Fung, 409-410.
- Fung, 410-411.
- Fung, 418.
- Fung, 424.
- Macau Yearbook 2007, 519-520
- Macau Yearbook 2007, 453-454.
- Macau Yearbook 2007,458.
- Chan, 58.
- Fung, 198.
- Macau Yearbook 2007, 467-468.
- General information
- Special Education and Child Development