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Updated February 7th, 2022 at 08:30 IST

China tightens rules in Macao to avert HK-type political turmoil amid 'planned' elections

China is tightening its hold in Macao with a properly planned election and national security measures to avert a political turmoil similar to that in Hong Kong

China
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China is tightening its hold in Macao, the nation's Special Administrative Region (SAR), with a properly planned election as well as national security measures which include a modification of its national security legislation, to avert a political turmoil similar to that in neighbouring Hong Kong from "taking root in the semi-autonomous Chinese city", as per a media report.  

In a statement on the publishing of its 2021-25 five-year plan on December 16 of last year, the Macao government stated that it would step up effort to strengthen governance, and optimise the city's legal requirements addressing national security and their respective implementation, VOA News reported.  

Safety measures in Macao

Officials in the region want to "complete" the national security legislation, accelerate enactment of terrorism as well as communications interception regulations, boost the enforcement of entrance limitations, and "improve" the electoral system, VOA News reported, quoting the official plan document. 

According to the document, the new election method would guarantee that the city's government is safe and secure in the grips of patriots. Furthermore, underneath the plan, Macao would "formulate positive and negative lists of swearing allegiance to the SAR" and necessary qualification assessment methods to govern the way lawmakers would fulfil their responsibilities, according to VOA News.  

In addition to this, For the very first time, Macao had disqualified three dozen pro-democracy contenders in September's "patriots-only" election, which included two incumbent politicians, for failing to obey the Basic Law or failing to pledge loyalty to the city. 

Experts opinion on Macao new rules

The election modifications, according to Michael Cunningham, a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center who specialises in Chinese politics, are an official move to remove any prospect of the pro-establishment camp losing control of Macao.  

Further, Cunningham emphasised that the current system has already been heavily tilted in favour of the pro-Beijing establishment. He went on to say that the government intends to ensure that this remains the case in the future years and decades, irrespective of how public opinion or political situations may alter, VOA News reported.  

The shift skewing the election legislation toward the pro-establishment side, according to Jason Buhi, assistant professor at Barry University Law School and author of The Constitutional History of Macau, is the result of a series of actions taken in recent years. 

Buhi claims Beijing has been attempting to retain a mask of democracy in Macau while concealing the realities and truths of its tightly controlled regime through byzantine administrative processes that even qualified political scientists would find difficult to comprehend, VOA News reported. 

Furthermore, to maintain control in the city, officials intend to strengthen national security through legislation, education, civil servant preparation, as well as general promotion. Macao's national security legal provisions are more preventative measures than techniques for crushing dissent, like those in Hong Kong, according to Cunningham. 

(Image: AP)

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Published February 7th, 2022 at 08:30 IST

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