Macau, China, 11 Jan – Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping on Sunday encouraged the Macau government and its people to tackle the impact of the global financial crisis by diversifying the economy.
“The Macau Government has implemented a string of effective measures to deal with the difficulties and overcome the difficulties with one heart”, he said.
Xi, who ended on Sunday a two-day official visit to Macau, the first since assuming the office of Chinese Vice President in March 2008, also said that “where there is difficulty, there is always resolution and hope”.
On Saturday Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping said that the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) should promote its long-term economic diversification.
Xi made these statements when meeting with the SAR’s Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah and more that one hundred representatives from local society.
The Chinese Vice President said that despite the global financial crises Macau “should be confident as there are also opportunities and conditions for development.”
Xi also said that the central government has launched a series of policies and measures to expand domestic demand and boost economic development.
To ensure Macau’s stable development in the face of global financial crisis, China’s central government announced last month several measures aimed to support Macau in six different areas.
These measures mainly concerned promoting the financial and infrastructure cooperation between the mainland and Macau, the overall opening-up of the mainland’s service sector to Macau, and helping Macau’s small- and medium-sized enterprises.
He also pointed out that Macau’s capacity in various fields has been greatly strengthened since its return to China nine years ago, and the SAR government has relatively sufficient financial capacity and abundant knowledge and experience of how to tackle the crisis.
As for the development of Hengqin Island, a part of the neighboring mainland city of Zhuhai, Xi said the central government has decided to develop the island, but the development will be launched only when preparatory works were fully completed.
The development of Hengqin Island will provide new spaces for the diversification of Macau’s economy, he said, adding that the central government will take Macau’s needs into full consideration.
Located close to Macau, Hengqin Island is about three times the size of Macau and just a few hundred metres from Macau’s SAR.
The Chinese Vice President revealed that on Friday he visited Hengqin with Guangdong Governor Huang Huahua and was impressed by the 86 square-kilometre island.
The island has been earmarked as a key base of economic cooperation between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau.
Xi Jinping stressed the importance of economic ties and integration between the three places.
Last week it was revealed the central government would provide 5 billion yuan (US$730 million) towards building a bridge linking Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai.
Still on Saturday the Chinese Vice President acknowledged the MSAR Government’s efforts in coping with last year’s challenges, noting that it had done a good job in addressing constitutional development, legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law, and the impact of the global financial turmoil.
He added that Macau has achieved both economic growth and social stability since the territory’s return to Chinese rule.
Before the departure Xi Jinping said that Macau citizens and other residents have made significant contribution to the prosperity and stability of Macau.
Xi acknowledged these residents’ efforts when he toured the Taipa Houses Museum this morning in the company of Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah, where he watched a Portuguese folk dance performance and tried some Portuguese snacks.
Speaking with some Macau citizens, the Chinese Vice President said the Central Government and the Macau SAR Government had placed much attention on the interests of Portuguese descendants in Macau, who are protected in accordance with the Basic Law.
As expected the Chinese Vice President didn’t make any comments on the four potential candidates to substitute the present Chief Executive Edmund Ho Haw Wah when his term ends 19 December.
The four potential “candidates” are Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Fernando Chui Sai On, Chief Public Prosecutor Ho Chio Meng and business community leader and deputy to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing, Ho Iat Seng.
Observers expect the candidacies for Chief Executive to be made public in March.
The election of the Chief Executive by a 300-member electoral college is scheduled for June.