How does Macao integrate into China's overall development?
How does Macao integrate into China's overall development.mp3
Editor's note: Decision Makers is a global platform for influential leaders to share their insights on events shaping today's world. Nadia Leong is the director of the Office of the Macao Special Administrative Region in Beijing. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.
Since its reunification with the motherland, Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) has demonstrated to the world the successful implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems" with its unique characteristics. As China is striding forward on its path to modernization, Macao will actively integrate into our country's overall development to make new achievements.
Under the strong support from the Central Government, and the joint efforts of the Macao SAR government alongside its citizens, Macao has made remarkable achievements in areas including politics, economics, social, culture and education since its return to the motherland. For example, from 1999 to 2021, Macao's real GDP has grown at an average annual rate of 3.5 percent, and its per capita GDP has increased from $15,000 to $44,000.
Also, the Macao SAR government has maintained overall social stability through prudent governance. After experiencing the severe influence of the COVID-19 pandemic in the past three years, Macao's economy is now showing signs of fast recovery, and multiple positive factors regarding economic development are emerging. This will undoubtedly boost the economic growth of the motherland.
The Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and Long-Range Objectives for 2035 has clearly stated Macao as a world center of tourism and leisure, a commercial and trade co-operation service platform between China and Portuguese-speaking countries, as well as an exchange and cooperation hub with Chinese culture as the mainstream combined with a diverse multi-cultural coexistence. The country, therefore, has given Macao the strategic positioning of "One Center, One Platform and One Base" in this new era, clearly guiding the direction for the future development of Macao.
In 2005, the "Historic Center of Macao" was successfully inscribed on the "World Heritage List" by United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), making it the 31st World Heritage site in China. Besides, in 2017, Macao was also recognized as the third "Creative City of Gastronomy" in China by UNESCO, after Chengdu and Shunde. This was yet another remarkable accomplishment for Macao after being inscribed on the "World Heritage List," adding to its impressive international reputation.
File photo: The Penha Hill of Macao, south China. /Xinhua
File photo: The Penha Hill of Macao, south China. /Xinhua
Macao is fully utilizing the advantages of the "One Country, Two Systems," firmly grasping major strategic opportunities such as the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and is achieving better growth in its integration into the overall development of the country, effectively improving living standards of local residents, and striving to drive forward the multiple aspects of Macao's advancement.
According to the Macao SAR government's report on social security fund, the total amount of subsidies (including unemployment allowance, sickness allowance, childbirth allowance, marriage allowance, funeral allowance, and compensation for occupational respiratory disease) granted in the last five years doubled from about 46.5 million patacas (MOP), which is nearly $5.7 million, in 2017 to roughly 94.7 million MOP (approximately $11.6 million) in 2021. The figure doubled during the half decade.
In September 2021, the administrative organizations of the Guangdong-Macao In-depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin were established, adopting a new mechanism of mutual discussion, joint construction, joint administration and shared benefits between Guangdong Province and the Macao SAR. This provides new opportunities for Macao's long-term development and offers a new platform for the development of diversified industries such as comprehensive healthcare, modern finance, high and new technology, conventions and exhibitions, culture and tourism, injecting new vitality into Macao's integration into China's overall development to promote Chinese modernization.
In addition, Macao also takes the initiative to align with the country's development strategy, actively participates in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to facilitate exchanges and cooperation with Portuguese-speaking countries, as well as countries and regions of the BRI in the areas of economics and trade, tourism and culture. Macao will leverage its unique advantages arising from being a free port with international access to the world, to better integrate into Chinese modernization and contribute to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Patriotism and love for Macao SAR have been a longstanding honorable tradition. Residents of Macao are filled with gratitude and cherish the prosperity that has arisen since the city's return to the motherland. Fellow Macao compatriots are diligent and continuously striving for self-improvement, making contributions while integrating into the process of national development.
In the future, Macao SAR will continue to uphold and carry forward the spirit of patriotism with the same unwavering dedication as in the past. We will remain true to our original aspiration, forge ahead to overcome challenges and build the Chinese dream together.
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