Is Macau Becoming The Latest Center for Protests?
It is clear that the people of Macau want to have their say.
The residents of the largest gambling center in the world are now planning their own unofficial referendum.
This is definitely not the first time that citizens are taking a stand.
Last month, when citizens in Hong Kong attempted to call for democratic reforms through an unofficial referendum, it was quickly labelled as ‘illegal’ by Beijing whereas the media in China referred to this action as ‘mincing ludicrousness’.
Macau is currently governed by a chief executive who was selected by an election committee.
The Macau residents feel that this committee is pro-Beijing and while this region has been apolitical since 1999 when the Chinese took control of the city, the Macanese want a change.
With the increased influx of migrants from the Chinese mainland and the expanding inequality, the residents of Macau are becoming increasingly more political.
In fact in May this year, 20,000 protestors took to the streets against a bill that would provide officials with excessive retirement packages. As a result, Macau’s chief executive withdrew this bill.
The illegal referendum is scheduled to take place on August 24-30 and residents will be able to vote on if they support the city’s current chief executive, Fernando Chui.
Chui is also currently running unopposed for re-election next month.
Respondents will also be given the opportunity to vote if they want universal suffrage. This term does not currently appear in Macau’s basic law.
Macau’s economy is dependent on China for food, energy and water and this city’s main revenue is from gambling tourists.
While organizers are only expecting 20,000 people to participate in the upcoming vote, if more people join in, this could create dissent among referendum organizers and city officials in Macau.