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Transfer of Sovereignty Over Macau
Transfer of sovereignty over Macau from Portugal to China
Transfer of sovereignty over Macau
Transferência da soberania de Macau
Sino-Portuguese Lisbon Agreement, which was signed in 1987
On 25 April 1974, a group of left-wing Portuguese officers organized a coup d'état, overthrowing the right-wing dictatorship that had been in power for 48 years. The new government began to transition Portugal to a democratic system and was committed to decolonization. The government carried out de-colonization policies, and proposed Macau's handover to China in 1978. The Chinese government rejected this proposal, believing that an early transfer of Macau would impact relations with Hong Kong.
On 31 December 1975, the Portuguese government withdrew its remaining troops from Macau. On 8 February 1979, the Portuguese government decided to break off diplomatic relations with the Republic of China, and established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China the next day. Both Portugal and the People's Republic of China recognized Macau as Chinese territory. The colony remained under Portuguese rule until 20 December 1999, when it was transferred to China and became the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
On 20 May 1986, the People's Republic of China, along with Portugal, officially announced that talks on Macanese affairs would take place in Beijing on 30 June 1986. The Portuguese delegation arrived in Beijing in June, and was welcomed by the Chinese delegation led by Zhou Nan.
The talks consisted of four sessions, all held in Beijing:
The first conference: 30 June - 1 July 1986
The second conference: 9 - 10 September 1986
The third conference: 21 - 22 October 1986
The fourth conference: 18 - 23 March 1987
During the negotiations, Portuguese representatives offered to return Macau in 1985, but Chinese representatives rejected that year (as well rejecting previous requests for 1967, 1975, and 1977). China requested 1997, the same year as Hong Kong, but Portugal refused. 2004 was suggested by Portugal, as well as 2007 as that year would mark the 450th anniversary of Portugal renting Macau. However, China insisted for a year before 2000 as the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group in Hong Kong would be dissolved in 2000 as envisioned in 1986 (the Joint Liaison Group would be dissolved in 1999). Eventually the year 1999 was agreed upon.
The twelve years between the signing of the "Sino-Portuguese Declaration" on 13 April 1987 and the transfer of sovereignty on 20 December 1999 were known as "the transition".
On 15 January 1988, the Chinese Foreign Affairs Department announced the Chinese members of the groups that would begin the talk on the issues of Macau during the transition. On 13 April, the "Draft of the Basic Law of the Macau Special Administrative Region Committee" was established during the seventh National People's Congress, and on 25 October, the committee convened the first conference, in which they passed the general outline of the draft and the steps, and decided to organise the "Draft of the Basic Law of Macau Special Administrative Region Information Committee". On 31 March 1993, the National People's Congress passed the resolution on the Basic Law of Macau, which marked the beginning of the latter part of the transition.
In the afternoon of 19 December 1999, the 127th Portuguese Governor of Macau Vasco Joaquim Rocha Vieira lowered the flags in Macau, which was the prelude of the ceremony for the establishment of the Macau Special Administrative Region. The official transfer of sovereignty was held at midnight on that day at the Cultural Centre of Macau Garden. The ceremony began in the evening and ended at dawn of 20 December.
The evening of 19 December began with dragon and lion dances. These were followed by a slideshow of historical events and features of Macau, which included a mixture of the religions and races of the East and the West, and the unique society of native Portuguese born in Macau. In the final performance, 422 children who represented the 422 years of Portuguese history in Macau were presented along with several international stars to perform the song "Praise for Peace".
After the transfer of the sovereignty of Macau to China, the Macau Special Administrative Region, the Legislative Assembly and the Judiciary were all put into practice accordingly under the regulation of the Basic Law.
The introduction of the Individual Visit Scheme policy made it easier for Chinese mainland residents to travel back and forth. In 2005 alone, there were more than 10 million tourists from mainland China, which made up 60% of the total number of tourists in Macau. The income from the gambling houses in Macau reached almost US$5.6 billion. On 15 July 2005, the Historic Centre of Macau was listed as a World Cultural Heritage site. The increasing development of tourism became a major factor in the rapid development of the economy of Macau.
For Portugal, the transfer of the sovereignty of Macau to China marked the end of the Portuguese Empire and its decolonisation process and also the end of European imperialism in China & Asia.
Citizens of mainland China still do not have the right of abode in Macau, except if he/she was born in Macau (before or after the establishment of the SAR). Instead, they had to apply for a permit to visit or settle in Macau from the PRC government.
Macau continues to operate as a separate customs territory from mainland China.
It remains an individual member of various international organizations, such as APEC and WTO.
Macau continued to negotiate and maintain its own aviation bilateral treaties with foreign countries and territories. These include flights to Taiwan.
Macau citizens continue to have easier access to many countries, including those in Europe and North America, with Macau SAR passport holders having visa-free access to 117 other countries and territories.
Foreign nationals, including Portuguese citizens, are allowed to hold high-level positions in the administration, except the office of Chief Executive; those who will apply for Chief Executive position will have to be naturalized as Chinese. This was in contrast to Hong Kong, where such positions were restricted to citizens of the SAR.
Members of the existing Legislative Assembly, who had been elected in 1996, remained in office until 2001, although those who had been appointed by the Governor were replaced by those appointed by the incoming Chief Executive.
Portuguese-influenced place names remain unchanged, although their unrelated Chinese equivalents are already in use; for example, Avenida Almeida Ribeiro is known as San Ma Lou or "new street of horses".
Portuguese monuments remain, although the statue of former Governor João Maria Ferreira do Amaral was taken down in 1992. The statue is now located at the Bairro da Encarnação, Lisbon, Portugal, where it was placed in December 1999.
The floor on the ground level continues to be officially referred to by the Portuguese abbreviation R/C (rés-do-chão).
The words "República Portuguesa" no longer appear on postage stamps, which now display the words "Macau, China". The Portuguese coat of arms had already been removed from Macanese pataca banknotes and coins issued since 1988.
^"João Ferreira do Amaral". Sítio da Câmara Municipal de Lisboa. Lisbon City Hall. Retrieved 2017. A mudança da administração do território macaense implicou a transferência da estátua para Lisboa, que foi inaugurada no Bairro da Encarnação, em Dezembro de 1999.