Make positive voices heard in 'black and white issues': Xi

Top News | Stella Wong 20 Dec 2019

President Xi Jinping urged Macau people to take a clear-cut stand on "black and white" issues with the territory marking the 20th anniversary of its return to Chinese sovereignty today.

That came on the second day of a three-day visit to Macau, with Xi telling Macau people what they could do for the SAR.

In a speech to around 150 government officials and influential leaders at the Macau East Asian Games Dome. Xi hoped everyone would remain firm supporters of their chief executive and government "in implementing reform and solving problems."

He also hoped people could "take a clear-cut stand in matters of black and white" in backing Macau's administration "to govern in accordance with the law."

And the president hoped Macanese could be active participants of "a great rejuvenation" of the Chinese nation.

As it was, Xi said he was proud of Macau's development over the past two decades, citing Macau's GDP per capita of US$80,000 (HK$622,400), the second highest in the world.

The average real growth rate of GDP was 7.6 percent a year after the handover to China's rule, he added. Additionally, Macau recorded more than 36 million visitor arrivals last year.

Xi also met with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor even as Macau's financial sector was receiving boosts from national agencies.

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission announced that mainland insurers will be allowed to make overseas investments in Macau to support the development of the Greater Bay Area and regulate overseas investment of insurance funds. The People's Bank of China also announced it was facilitating the use of Macau e-wallets on the mainland.

And a pilot scheme sees Macau people able to open accounts in selected mainland banks.

In his opening speech at a banquet last night, Xi praised Macau for fully implementing a one country, two systems arrangement.

"The Macau government and citizens from all walks of life understand that everything goes well in a harmonious family," he said in also taking a thinly-veiled swipe at Hong Kong.

"They place importance in unity and negotiation, do not have arguments and internal frictions. They also resist external interference with their self-consciousness."

Earlier in the day, Xi visited the Government Integrated Services Building, a secondary school and the China-Portuguese-Speaking Countries Commercial and Trade Service Platform Complex.

A junior secondary school student from the Premier School Affiliated to Hou Kong Middle School said: "When Grandpa Xi was greeting us he hugged me and shook hands with me.

"At that time my hands were very cold. When Grandpa Xi was shaking hands with me I can feel Grandpa Xi's warmth spread to my whole body immediately. "He encouraged us to work hard to learn, and grow healthily. He also said we must learn Chinese history."

Also yesterday, presidential wife Peng Liyuan paid a visit to the Institute for Tourism Studies.

More economic lifts for Macau are expected to be revealed today by Xi, who is attending a handover anniversary celebration and the inauguration of the fifth-term government led by industrialist and former Legislative Assembly president Ho Iat-seng.

Following the ceremony, Xi will meet with Ho and his officials, members of the legislature and the judiciary.

The president is scheduled to leave in the afternoon.

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