Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng Wednesday urged Macao lawmakers to respect the existing executive-led system of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) – when carrying out their legislative tasks – by ensuring that the executive authorities and the legislature always complement and provide checks and balances to each other.
Han also urged Macao’s lawmakers to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty, security and development interests.
Han also praised the Macao Legislative Assembly (AL) for its positive contributions to the city’s democratic development, improvements in its legal system and social progress. He said that the central government fully acknowledges the work of the local legislature.
Han is one of the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee – the nation’s top governing body, officially known as the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Community Party of China (CPC).
Han, who ranks first among the four vice-premiers of the State Council, made the remarks yesterday morning during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People with 29 local lawmakers, who went to Beijing on Tuesday for a four-day visit to the national capital and the nearby municipality of Tianjin, at the invitation of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.
Several other central government officials, including Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council Director Zhang Xiaoming and Central People’s Government Liaison Office in Macao Director Zheng Xiaosong, also attended yesterday’s meeting between Han and the local delegation headed by Legislative Assembly President Ho Iat Seng.
Members of the delegation told reports upon departure from Macao’s airport on Tuesday that the four-day trip aims to allow local lawmakers to better understand the ongoing social and economic development of the mainland. Four legislators of the 33-member legislature did not go on the trip, having requested a leave of absence.
The delegation will visit Tianjin – one of the four nation’s four municipalities – today where its members are slated to meet members of the Standing Committee of the Tianjin Municipal People’s Congress. The 29 lawmakers will return to Macao tomorrow.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Han noted that it is the third time that members of the Macao Legislative Assembly have paid a formal visit to the mainland as a delegation since the establishment of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) in 1999.
The vice-premier said that the visit would allow local lawmakers to gain a better understanding of the mainland’s latest socio-economic development and to boost their confidence in the future development of the mainland and Macao.
Han said that the “great” implementation of the “one country, two systems” principle for 19 years after the MSAR establishment in 1999 fully highlights the effective implementation of the central government’s “overall jurisdiction” over Macao and the achievements concerning the city’s high degree of autonomy.
Han, the central authorities’ top official responsible for Hong Kong and Macao affairs, noted that the local legislature – as an important component of the political system of the MSAR – has made indispensible contributions to all these achievements.
Han, 64, praised all the post-1999 terms of MSAR’s legislature for their determination to carry out their tasks in line with the nation’s Constitution and the Macao Basic Law and to support the chief executives and the MSAR government in administrating the city in accordance with the law. He said that this situation has played an important role in the comprehensive and accurate implementation of the “one country, two systems” principle.
Han, a former party secretary and mayor of Shanghai, said he hoped that Macao will continue to strictly follow the guidelines laid out by President Xi Jinping about Macao’s development and its cooperation with the mainland.
According to Xinhua, Han said he hoped that the local legislature “will firmly safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, and support the chief executive and government of the MSAR in exercising law-based governance … and help promote Macao to integrate its own development into the overall development of the country.”
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Ho said that Han raised three “hopes” for local lawmakers during the meeting.
Ho, an indirectly-elected lawmaker representing the city’s business sector, is the sole Macao member of the elite Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing.
The first hope is for local lawmakers to fully exercise the “constitutional” duties of the Macao Legislative Assembly granted by the nation’s Constitution and the Macao Basic Law, and to be determined in safeguarding the country’s sovereignty, Ho quoted Han as saying in the meeting.
According to Ho, the second hope is for local legislators to respect the executive-led system – the current political structure implemented in the MSAR – by ensuring the continuation of the sound implementation of the mechanism in which the executive authorities and the legislature both complement and provide checks and balances to each other’s functions, but primarily by putting special emphasis on a cooperative relationship between the local legislature and government.
The third hope raised by Han is for local lawmakers to carry out their tasks in order to help Macao achieve its right positioning in the country’s development after the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao (HKZM) Bridge later this year, Ho quoted Han as saying.
Ho also said that the meeting with Han was a “great encouragement” to local lawmakers.
Meanwhile, Zhang held a meeting with the local delegation on Tuesday night – the first day of the delegation’s arrival in Beijing – at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.
Speaking to government-owned broadcaster TDM after the meeting with Zhang, Ho said that Zhang had expressed four opinions about Macao.
Zhang’s first opinion concerns the establishment of a long-term mechanism for members of every legislative term – by forming a delegation – to visit different cities and areas in the mainland, with the aim of gaining a better understanding of the development of different areas in the mainland, according to Ho.
Zhang’s second opinion is that the central government greatly acknowledges the disaster prevention measures undertaken by the local government in response to Super Typhoon Mangkhut that hit Macao last month, Ho quoted Zhang as saying.
Zhang’s third opinion is for local lawmakers to continue to carry out their tasks in line with the existing executive-led system of the MSAR, and to well carry out their legislative duties and tasks of monitoring the government in line with the principle of the Macao Basic Law, according to Ho.
Zhang’s fourth opinion is for local legislators to continue to come up with constructive opinions and suggestions for the formulation of proper policies by the local government.
Zhang, 55, is a former director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong.