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Top legislator stresses Macao's prosperity, nat'l sovereignty


19:58, February 21, 2013

MACAO, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Safeguarding China's national sovereignty while preserving the prosperity of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) are core considerations in the central government's policies on Macao, China's top legislator said on Thursday.

They are also the guiding principles for the central government in handling Macao affairs, Wu Bangguo, chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, said in a keynote speech marking the 20th anniversary of the promulgation of the Basic Law of the Macao SAR.

Wu arrived in Macao on Wednesday for a three-day visit.

The central government has tailored various policies regarding Macao based on these principles and the practical conditions of the SAR, according to Wu.

The focal points of these policies are to resume exercising sovereignty over Macao and maintain its stability and development, while the approach to implementing these policies insists on the principle of "one country, two systems," the top legislator said.

The practice of "one country, two systems" was epoch-making, and it is a great and unprecedented concept "within the People's Republic of China, where the mainland maintains the socialist system, while Hong Kong and Macao retain capitalist systems," Wu said in his speech.

Wu added that to publicize the Basic Law of Macao, people should thoroughly understand the systems in place in the region and relations between the central government and the SAR government.

To fully realize the sound governance of Macao, he told people to safeguard the Macao SAR's high level of autonomy as well as support the central government's authority.

The Basic Law of the Macao SAR was promulgated on March 31, 1993 and took effect on Dec. 20, 1999, when the SAR was returned to China. It has acted as the cornerstone of the region's political and legal systems.

Wu said the central government fully recognizes the achievements the Macao SAR government has made in the past 14 years.

Politically, "for the first time, Macao has realized that everyone is equal before the law, and the people of Macao fully enjoy the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Basic Law and other laws," Wu said.

In accordance with the law, the Macao SAR has established its own administrative, legislative and judicial organs and elected their chief executive and legislature for three terms, showing the area's high degree of autonomy, Wu added.

Under the principle that diplomatic power falls under the central government, Macao also has the right to handle foreign affairs in economics, trade and culture.

Wu also spoke highly of the "unprecedented economic growth" in Macao, noting that the gross domestic product (GDP) in the SAR increased from 49 billion pataca (6.13 billion U.S. dollars) to 292.1 billion pataca from 2000 to 2011, and the per capita GDP rose from 14,000 to 66,000 U.S. dollars during the period, ranking second in Asia.

A social welfare system covering all Macao citizens has been built and people's living standards have improved in an all-around way, according to Wu.

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