People in Macau have been marking the fifth anniversary of the city’s return to China after almost 500 years of Portuguese rule. Local leaders and Chinese officials stood side be side for the flag-raising ceremony, symbolising what Beijing hails as the success of its “one country – two systems” policy. It seeks to combine capitalism and communism. The transition has gone much more smoothly than in Hong Kong which was given back to China by Britain in 1997.
Many people there remain deeply unhappy with the post-handover government and continue to campaign for more democracy. Chinese President Hu Jintao was not there for the raising of the flags but gave a keynote speech later. In it he praised the manner in which Macau had settled down under Chinese rule, saying it had brought “great achievements.” He said Hong Kong should follow the same example.
While Macau residents are enjoying a booming economy and political stability, Hong Kong has become a headache for Beijing. Some analysts suggest Beijing attaches more importance to the former Portuguese colony as a model to showcase the “one country, two systems” arrangement model to Taiwan. The island split from China after civil war in 1949.