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Wednesday, December 20, 2000, updated at 10:40(GMT+8)

Happy Birthday to Macao

Macao Special Administration Region (SAR) has expressed its gratitude to the central government on the eve of celebrations to mark the region's first anniversary.

"(Macao's) Good start would not have been possible without the full support of the central government," the first Chief Executive, Edmund Ho Hau-wah, said to 700 guests at a celebration dinner given by the Macao SAR government.

Since Macao SAR was set up, the enclave has been developing steadily with improved security.

Ho attributed the region's progress to the hard work of local people and support from central government.

Reviewing the past year, Ho said the SAR government now has good social order and solidarity, having overcome problems and challenges and achieving overall stability and healthy growth.

Operating under the Basic Law of Macao, put in place in 1999 to guide the region's progress, the Macao SAR government has adopted a policy strategy "consolidating foundations and developing steadily."

With hard work and dedication, Macao peoplehave met targets laid out for the region's historic first year, he noted.

Ho said the smooth and successful implementation of "one country, two systems" in Macao demonstrates the great wisdom of the great concept created by the late Deng Xiaoping, the strong leadership of the third-generation of national leaders with President Jiang at the core, andthe unity of the Chinese nation.

The Macao SAR government will honestly perform its duties and scale heights of success in practising "one country, two systems" and "Macao people administering Macao," Ho said.

Jiang will give an important speech Wednesday at formal celebrations marking the first anniversary.

Vice-Premier Qian Qichen spoke highly of the achievements Macao has already made.

The region has taken on a new look since its handover,with a vigorous SAR government, better public security and a growing economy, Qian said.

"Since Macao SAR was set up a year ago, anencouraging new atmosphere has appeared in Macao's social and economic sectors," he said.

"Facts have proved and will continue to prove that the people of Macao can fully manage their own affairs," Qian stressed.

Jiang, Qian and other officials from central government attended a grand banquet to mark the anniversary afterarriving at Macao International Airport.

The vice-premier said he believed the Macao SAR governmentwould go on to greater things in the new century with the backing of central government and the whole country.

Rain failed to stop Macao people performing their own celebrations on an outside stage at Leal Senado Square, opposite the building of the Provisional Municipal Council of Macao, last night.

Hundreds of people from local schools and neighbourhood associationsclutched umbrellas as they watched performances.

Sources: China Daily

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Macao Special Administration Region (SAR) has expressed its gratitude to the central government on the eve of celebrations to mark the region's first anniversary.

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