National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee Chairman Zhang Dejiang told a delegation of the Macau Chamber of Commerce (ACM) in Beijing Tuesday that the holding of a so-called “civic referendum” in Macau would violate the Macau Basic Law.
ACM President Ma Iao Lai revealed Zhang’s position on the controversy when talking to reporters after a closed-door meeting at the Great Hall of the People.
Zhang is the highest-ranking central government official so far to have rejected the “referendum”. Zhang ranks third in the Communist Party of China’s Politburo Standing Committee.
According to Ma, Zhang said that any activities violating the Basic Law are mistakes that must be corrected and be explained to local residents.
According to Xinhua, Zhang urged the chamber to “support the work of the Macau Special Administrative Region government in promoting a moderately diversified economy and make more contributions to Macau’s long-lasting prosperity and stability.”
Three local youth groups have called the “referendum” in the run-up to next month’s election of the chief executive by a 400-member electoral college. The “referendum” would ask residents if they back universal suffrage for the election of the chief executive.
The Macau government has said the “referendum” is “invalid and illegal.”(macaunews/macaupost)