Macau Lawyers Association (AAM) President Jorge Neto Valente told government-owned broadcaster TDM Thursday that if he had been in Hong Kong last Sunday, he would have supported the protesters against the [the Hong Kong government’s proposed extradition] law.”
Neto Valente also said in the interview – broadcast on TDM’s Portuguese-language main newscast last night – the best way for the Hong Kong government to solve the row was to postpone the discussion of the bill in the Legislative Council.
Neto Valente also said he was, however, hopeful that postponement was an option. “I am quite hopeful as there are some civic leaders who are even close to the [Hong Kong] government, and who have supported the Hong Kong government, who are asking to postpone the issue. I think it would be the best solution.”
The veteran lawyer also said: “I can also assure that the people of Macao will not do what Hong Kong people are doing because I understand Macao people. This is the nature of Macao people. The Macao people have a narrow vision. They only see the small world in their back garden and have no international perspective. Unfortunately, they do not see the serious consequence that this law may bring.”
Neto Valente also said official claims that the Hong Kong protesters were being manipulated [by foreign forces] was “a swindle”.
“I think that it’s an insult to say that have all been manipulated and influenced by foreign interests against the State. It’s an insult. It’s another swindle”. Neto Valente also rejected the argument that the protesters are unpatriotic. “What’s at stake is very concrete. One can be Chinese and very patriotic and not support this [bill]. And I think that’s something that the Hong Kong government did not see,” Neto Valente told TDM.
Another prominent local lawyer, Manuela António, told TDM that Hong Kong’s extradition bill was a violation of the Basic Law of the neighbouring special administrative region.
The Macau government has said that it is still drafting an extradition bill. In 2015, the government abruptly withdrew a bill on the issue from the legislature, saying that the draft law needed to be redrafted.(Macaunews)