The president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong & Macau Studies, Xu Ze, said at the weekend that “reunification and development are the founding aspiration” of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, and “we must uphold it unwaveringly”.
Xu made the remarks in his opening speech at a seminar held at the Mr. and Mrs. Lau Chor Tak Lecture Theatre at the public University of Macau (UM) on its Hengqin Island campus on Saturday.
According to its Chinese title, the one-day seminar aimed to summarise the experience and prospects of the implementation of the Macau Basic Law. It was also held to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Macau’s return to the motherland. The seminar was attended by dozens of scholars from higher education institutions from the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau.
The seminar was jointly organised by the Constitution and Administrative Law Research Centre of Peking University, Centre for Hong Kong and Macau Studies of Tsinghua University, Centre for the Basic Laws of the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions of Shenzhen University, Centre for Constitutional Law and Basic Law Studies of the University of Macau, and the Legal Affairs Bureau (DSAJ).
Xu underlined President Xi Jinping’s remarks according to which the nation’s special administrative regions (SARs) are regulated by the Constitution and their respective basic laws, a sequence that is “respected and protected” in Macau, adding that that sequence is the “fundamental point” for summarising the experience of the practice of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle in Macau.
The Constitution is the fundamental law of a nation, which regulates its fundamental system, Xu noted.
According to the two basic laws, Macau and Hong Kong are the nation’s SARs endowed with a high degree of autonomy under the central government’s supervision, Xu noted.
Based on a unitary state’s system, an SAR’s high degree of autonomy is granted by the central government, and as a region overseen by the central government, the SAR “must accept” the leadership of the central government and be “accountable” to the central government, Xu said.
Xu pointed out that the core of the constitutional order for an SAR is the relationship between the central government and the SAR, adding that the “fundamental purpose” of protecting an SAR’s constitutional order is to protect the nation’s “interests of sovereignty, security and development”, as well as maintaining Macau and Hong Kong’s long term prosperity and stability.
According to the Macau Post Daily, Legal Affairs Bureau (DSAJ) Director Liu Dexue said in his opening speech that Macau is proceeding towards its goal of setting up “one centre, one platform, one base”. Liu said that how to accelerate Macau’s integration into the nation’s development plan, participate in the nation’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) development and “comprehensively” implement the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA) is not only a crucial opportunity that Macau is “facing”, but also a new practice for further “promoting and enriching” the development of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle in Macau.
“One centre” refers to Macau’s aim to become a world centre for tourism and leisure, “one platform” refers to the economic and trade cooperation platform for China and Portuguese-speaking countries, and “one base” refers to the base of multiple cultures’ co-existence with Chinese culture as the mainstream in Macau.