Macau Special Administrative Region
LOCATION AND SIZE.
Macau is located in Southeast Asia, approximately 60 kilometers (37 miles) southwest of Hong Kong, bordering China. Made up of Macau city and the islands of Taipa and Coloane, Macau has a land area of 21 square kilometers (8.3 square miles). Comparatively, the territory of Macau is 4 times smaller than the Manhattan area of New York City. Macau is joined to the Chinese province of Guangdong by a narrow land corridor. Because of land reclamation efforts, Macau has enlarged its territory by 50 percent since 1912.
The population of Macau, which is virtually all urban-based, was estimated at 445,594 in July 2000. In 2000, the birth rate stood at 12.54 per 1,000 and this low level is mainly attributed to the effect of urbanization. The death rate stood at 3.64 per 1,000. The estimated population growth rate is 1.83 percent, although unofficial estimates show higher figures due to a high net migration rate, which has been estimated at 9.41 migrants per 1,000. Macau has one of the highest population densities in the world, standing at a level of around 21,218 people per square kilometer (or 54,954 per square mile).
The Macau population represents 2 major ethnic groups, with ethnic Chinese making up almost 95 percent of the population, and Macanese (mixed Portuguese and Asian ancestry) and other ethnic groups making up the remaining 5 percent. Around 100,000 inhabitants of Macau hold Portuguese passports that give them the right to settle in Portugal. Approximately 23 percent of the population is below the age of 15, and just 8 percent of the population is older than 65. The current ethnic structure was formed in the 19th century and remains practically unchanged. Buddhism is the primary religion, with 50 percent of the population practicing; Roman Catholicism follows with 15 percent, and the remainder is made up of numerous other faiths.
The government is keen to limit the inflow of illegal immigrants from China. Between 20 and 25 illegal immigrants are deported daily, although foreigners may legally buy residential permits for US$250,000. New chronic diseases such as AIDS are also of great concern to the Macau government, since the country is a busy tourist destination.
OVERVIEW OF ECONOMY
Manufacturing and services are the 2 main pillars of the modern Macau economy. Macau, like Hong Kong and Singapore, has an export-oriented economy, which benefits from growing trade with Western Europe and the United States. Throughout the 20th century, Macau specialized in manufacturing for the export market and servicing international merchants and bankers.
Macau was established as a Portuguese colony in 1557, becoming one of the most important trade distribution centers in the region for the next 3 centuries. Its significance as a trading center rose as the Chinese government maintained a policy of voluntary isolation from the world, allowing international trade only in few assigned ports. Portugal proclaimed Macau a free port (such ports were set up in Asia by the European colonial powers in the 19th century in an effort to promote international trade with a minimum of tariffs and other barriers) in 1849. However, in the 19th century Macau's importance declined with the rise of the British colony in Hong Kong.
The Macau administration has maintained a free-market economy, which in combination with the entrepreneurial skills of the local population and the region's political stability, has contributed to growth of wealth and prosperity. Macau's main exports are textiles, clothing, and services, though it lags behind Hong Kong and Singapore in the proportion of value-added production.
Tourism also plays a significant role in Macau's economy. However, it has been the gambling industry that has contributed so much to the image of Macau as a tourist destination. The gambling industry also has attracted organized criminal syndicates, called "triads," which are involved in gambling, illegal people trafficking, prostitution, and pirated production of various goods, including music and computer CDs. During the 1990s, the government made considerable efforts to restrain and eliminate the power of these criminal groups.
The territory depends heavily on imports of foodstuffs and raw materials from neighboring China because it has no agriculture, due to its very small size. Nonetheless, it maintains a relatively high standard of living due to its sound infrastructure , promotion of economic balance, low inflation , stable currency, and foreign trade surplus .
POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND TAXATION
Throughout the 20th century, Macau remained a remote outpost of the Portuguese colonial empire. The situation changed, however, after the 1974 revolution in Portugal. The new democratic Portuguese government offered Macau back to China, although it took more than a decade before Portugal and China formally agreed on the future of Macau in 1987. This agreement was very similar to the one struck between the British government and China on the future of Hong Kong. On 20 December 1999, the administration of the territory was formally handed over to China. Macau became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China with a "high degree of autonomy" (self-government) in domestic affairs for a period of 50 years under the principle of "one country, two systems." In 1999, Edmund Ho Hau-Wah became the first governor appointed by China's central government, replacing General de Rocha Vieira, the last Portuguese governor of the territory. According to the Macau's Basic Law (the territory's constitution), the governor has strong policy-making and executive powers, which are limited only by the central government in Beijing and by the Macau legislature. The Legislative Assembly is comprised of 8 directly elected members, 8 indirectly elected members, and 7 members appointed by the governor, totaling 23 members. After establishing its control over Macau, Beijing stationed its army on the territory. However, the military does not play any active role in Macau's economic development.
The Macau authorities traditionally did not attempt to establish control over the territory's economy and, unlike the communist Chinese, they always supported free-market institutions. Nevertheless, since the early 1980s, the Macau government has begun to adopt a more active role in the economic development, encouraging economic variety, promoting large infrastructure projects, and introducing attractive fiscal initiatives for local and foreign investors.
In order to compete with neighboring Hong Kong, Macau established very low direct taxes and abolished currency exchange controls. The property tax ranges up to 15 percent and the wage tax up to 10 percent; this is a very low rate compared to countries in Europe or North America. There are also profit and business taxes on industrial enterprises. Nevertheless, the web of various fiscal initiatives reduces business and other taxes considerably. Imports are free of duty , but they are subject to a consumption tax. The main source of revenue in Macau is taxes on gambling, accounting for 44 percent of total revenue (1999). The pataca, the Macau currency, is pegged to the Hong Kong dollar at the rate of 1.03 patacas per Hong Kong dollar. Unlike South Korea, Thailand, or Indonesia, the pataca remained stable despite the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and the Russian foreign debt default in 1998.
INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER, AND COMMUNICATIONS
Macau's infrastructure and well-developed transportation network were established mainly during the colonial era. Visitors can reach Macau by ferry, hydro-foils, or helicopters from Hong Kong, or by cars or buses from China. The territory's international profile was boosted by opening the US$1 billion international airport built on reclaimed land on Taipa island. It is capable of carrying 6 million passengers and 180,000 metric tons of cargo per year. Macau was eclipsed long ago by Hong Kong as the area's leading port, because its surrounding waters were not deep enough for large ocean cargo vessels. Nevertheless, the Macau authorities made considerable efforts to develop its seaport as an alternative to Hong Kong, and Macau's port is currently able to handle container cargo vessels and oil tankers. In 1993, a new ferry terminal capable of carrying 30 million passengers a year was opened.
Macau is served by a network of 50 kilometers (31 miles) of highways, all of them paved. In the 1990s, there was a steep increase in private car ownership, leading to traffic congestion and rising air pollution. In 1999, there was a total of 55,144 registered motor vehicles or 123 cars per 1,000 inhabitants, an increase of almost 30 percent from the 40,600 cars in 1995.
Macau is totally reliant on imports of mineral fuel for domestic consumption, and these imports accounted for almost 6 percent of merchandise imports in 1999. This makes Macau particularly vulnerable to world oil prices. Electrical power plants, which use imported fossil fuel, have a total capacity of 351.6 megawatts (mw). In 1999 electricity net supply stood at 1.53 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) and imports stood at 194.4 million kWh.
Macau had 70,403 new telephone lines installed in 1999, bringing the number of telephones up to 300,000, or 686 telephones per 1,000 people. The number of mobile cellular telephones was growing rapidly, reaching 55,000 in 1998. Macau has only 2 radio stations—both FM—and no television stations, receiving their television signals from Hong Kong. Macau's Internet service was to be opened to applicants in October 2000, having formerly been a monopoly owned by Macau Telecom.
Macau has the advantage of being an entry point to the huge China market, although its economic development has been held back by its small territory, small population,
|Country||Telephones a||Telephones, Mobile/Cellular a||Radio Stations b||Radios a||TV Stations a||Televisions a||Internet Service Providers c||Internet Users c|
|Macau||176,837 (2000)||120,957 (2000)||AM 0; FM 2; shortwave 0||160,000||0||49,000||1||40,000|
|United States||194 M||69.209 M (1998)||AM 4,762; FM 5,542; shortwave 18||575 M||1,500||219 M||7,800||148 M|
|China||135 M (2000)||65 M (2001)||AM 369; FM 259; shortwave 45||417 M||3,240||400 M||3||22 M (2001)|
|Hong Kong||3.839 M (1999)||3.7 M (1999)||AM 7; FM 13; shortwave 0||4.45 M||4||1.84 M||17||1.85 M|
|aData is for 1997 unless otherwise noted.|
|bData is for 1998 unless otherwise noted.|
|cData is for 2000 unless otherwise noted.|
|SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [Online].|
and extremely limited natural resources, as well as competition from neighboring Hong Kong. The policy of encouraging private entrepreneurship, giving priority to the development of export-oriented sectors and capital intensive industries—combined with a relatively cheap labor force —has contributed to the rise of Macau's prosperity. By 2000, manufacturing (textiles, clothing, toys, and electronics), gambling, and tourism became the largest sectors of Macau's economy.
The 1997 Asian financial crisis contributed to the slowing of economic growth in all sectors of the economy, although Macau managed to avoid an economic decline on the scale of Indonesia or Thailand. The crisis also indicated the need for a further broadening of the economy. Throughout the 1990s, the Macau government struggled to attract value-added manufacturing on the same scale as Hong Kong or Singapore, especially in such important sectors as computer hardware and information technologies (IT). Due to the small size of Macau's market, it lags behind neighboring Hong Kong in providing business and banking services. Macau tries to compete with Hong Kong by offering good infrastructure, cheaper business property rent and labor, and efficient administrative services.
Agriculture and fishing play a negligible role in Macau's economy, accounting for just 1 percent of the GDP and employing less than 1 percent of the workforce. For a long time, Macau has been fully reliant on imports of foodstuffs, mainly from neighboring China. The territory has a very small fishing industry, consisting of a small fishing fleet, which supplies local restaurants and the fish market with fresh catch. There is a small land area under cultivation mainly for fresh vegetables. A very small livestock industry supplies chickens and ducks to the restaurants specializing in traditional Asian cuisine.
Macau has a well-established manufacturing sector that plays an important economic role. Manufacturing contributes 40 percent of the GDP, providing employment to 87,141 people or 31 percent of the workforce (1998). In the 1960s and 1970s, Macau attracted investment and technologies to its manufacturing industry (mainly textiles, clothing, toys, and electronics) through low cost and efficiency, producing a range of exports to Europe and the United States. However, Macau fell behind Hong Kong and Singapore in attracting electronic assembling and computer technologies in the 1980s and 1990s. Since the early 1990s, however, the manufacturing sector's share in the GDP has been steadily declining because of strong competition from China's Special Economic zone of Zhuhai. The manufacturing sector is dominated by small- and medium-size enterprises, which specialize in small-volume and high-quality garments, toys, leather goods, and artificial flowers. It also produces optical goods, electronics, and machinery.
Manufacturing was negatively affected by the 1997 Asian financial crisis. However, Macau escaped a large-scale recession because the local business community switched quickly between markets and products, and because most of the goods were produced by small private enterprises for export to the United States, Europe, and East Asia. Macau benefited from the existence of U.S.-imposed quotas for goods made in China. Such restrictions can provide an initiative for re-export of goods manufactured in China and labeled as Macau-made products. During recent years, Macau reportedly became heavily involved in producing pirated computer software, CDROMs, and DVDs, which have been distributed in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and even in the United States.
Tourism is the most important sector of Macau economy, providing direct employment (such as in hotels and restaurants) for 28 percent of the labor force or 78,708 people. Macau has long been a tourist destination for business people and other travelers due to its famous gambling facilities. Macau promotes itself as a "dream come true," offering 24-hour gambling services, a multicultural environment, exotic festivals, and tax-free shopping (most items are 50 percent cheaper than in Hong Kong). According to the national authorities, Macau had a total room capacity of 8,886 in 1999, although most of the hotels report an occupancy rate below 60 percent. Most visitors come for a short stay, arriving from Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, and Japan. The number of tourists visiting the territory rose steadily throughout the 1980s and 1990s, reaching a peak in 1996 with 8.1 million tourists. There was, however, a sharp decline of around 15 percent in 1997 and a further 3 percent in 1998, because of economic turmoil in the region and the outbreak of gangster-style killings and bombings on Macau's streets. In 1999 and 2000, tourism was helped by the economic recovery in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Gambling, together with tourism, is one of the most important sectors of Macau's economy. Macau's casinos and its facilities for horse and greyhound racing have attracted visitors to the region for decades. The government has benefited from the gambling industry by imposing direct taxes, which accounted for 44 percent of its revenue in 1999. However, the dark side of the industry is gambling addiction and criminal activities. In fact, the outbreak of violence in hotels, restaurants, and casinos in 1997 and 1998 was largely attributed to feuds between powerful organized crime syndicates.
Macau has a small but vibrant financial services sector, which provided employment for 8 percent of the labor force, or 22,488 people, in 1999. It is built around banking, insurance, and business services. The banking sector was opened for international competition in 1992, and there were 9 local and 13 foreign incorporated banks in 1998. The largest banks are Banco Comercial Portugues and Bank of China. The 1997 Asian financial crisis hurt the financial services sector, although there were no major bank collapses or bankruptcies.
The retail sector is well-established in Macau, providing inexpensive products to the local population and foreign tourists. Large supermarkets are complemented by thousands of small retail shops where tourists and local consumers can buy a wide variety of duty-free products much cheaper than in Hong Kong. Thousands of small- and medium-size restaurants serve exotic Asian cuisine, attracting gourmands (sophisticated diners) from across the region.
Macau was declared a "free port" in 1849, establishing very few barriers against the import of goods and services and promoting export to the international market. Historically, the United States has remained one of Macau's major trading partners, with exports to the United States reaching US$1 billion dollars in 1999 or 46.9 percent of all exports, consisting mainly of textiles, garments, and manufactured electronics. The European Union is the second-largest trading export market, accounting for US$663 million or 30.2 percent of total exports. China and Hong Kong were also important destinations for Macau exports, accounting for 9.2 percent and 6.8 percent of exports, respectively.
Imports originating from China accounted for US$725 million, or 35.6 percent of its total imports in 1999, so Macau was running a considerable trade deficit with this country. Hong Kong was the second largest source of import accounting for US$368 million or 18.1 percent of total imports. The European Union, Japan, and the United States were other major sources of imports.
Macau's economic vulnerabilities were exposed during the sharp oil price increases in 2000 and 2001. It also faces increasing competition from low-cost, mass-production enterprises in neighboring China and is vulnerable to changes in the U.S. and EU markets.
Macau's currency, the pataca, is pegged to the Hong Kong dollar and remains stable. The territory managed to avoid high inflation or economic recession during last
|Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Macau|
|SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.|
|Exchange rates: Macau|
|patacas (MOP) per US$1|
|Note: Linked to the Hong Kong dollar at the rate of 1.03 patacas per Hong Kong dollar.|
|SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].|
2 decades, although the Asian financial crisis of 1997 did hurt its economy. There was an economic slow-down in 1997 and 1998, affecting all sectors and bringing a small rise in inflation. However, in 1999 and 2000 the economy overcame these difficulties and began to grow again. One of the unique features of Macau's economy was that in 1998 it experienced deflation of 4 percent.
Due to the regional economic downturn, the value of the Macau patacas declined slightly against the U.S. dollar from 7.962 in 1996 to 8.1 in January 2000.
POVERTY AND WEALTH
Macau has no official poverty line, so the number of citizens living at that level is difficult to determine. Also, many foreign workers illegally enter Macau looking for jobs, and these individuals cannot be accounted for in official statistics. Their presence in Macau ebbs and flows, as the government fights a continuing battle to deport illegal entrants into the region.
Macau's gap between poor and rich is wide. Macau's per capita GDP was listed in 2000 at US$17,500, placing it 37th in the world. While impressive considering Macau's small size, such wealth does not get equally passed among all strata of society. Gambling, which provides
|GDP per Capita (US$)|
|Note: Data are estimates.|
|SOURCE: Handbook of the Nations, 17th,18th, 19th and 20th editions for 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999 data; CIA World Factbook 2001 [Online] for 2000 data.|
more than 40 percent of Macau's income, benefits the poor very little.
In 1998, Macau's labor force stood at 281,117 people, with an unemployment rate of around 6.9 percent. Macau's economy experienced 2 difficult years in 1997 and 1998, when the unemployment rate was on the rise. However, since the beginning of the economic recovery in 1999 and 2000, there has been some improvement in the labor market. Wages are generally below those in neighboring Hong Kong, but much higher than in China, although there is no regulation of minimum wages or unemployment compensations.
The Macau government encourages women to work, and women made up around 40 percent of the workforce in 1999. In 1984 child labor was banned in Macau, but the law has never been strongly enforced.
Trade unions are allowed in Macau, within the framework of its labor law and other regulations. Labor actions, such as strikes, slow downs, and other protests, are very rare in Macau.
COUNTRY HISTORY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
1513. First Portuguese ship anchors in the Pearl River estuary.
1557. Portuguese establish a trading post on the islands.
1849. Portugal proclaims Macau a free port.
1949. Communist party comes to power in China.
1951. Portugal officially makes Macau an overseas province.
1974. A military coup takes place in Portugal. The new democratic Portuguese government offers to return Macau to China.
1979. Portugal and China establish diplomatic relations.
1987. Portugal and China reach a formal agreement on future status of Macau.
1989. People demonstrate in Macau in support of the pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing.
1989. Chinese language is made an official language along with Portuguese.
1992. A new banking ordinance is introduced, opening the banking sector for international competition.
1997. Outbreak of contract killings and bombings indicate the beginning of the war between organized criminal groups.
1999. Macau officially returns to Chinese jurisdiction.
Macau has experienced 2 decades of economic growth, benefiting from the rise of international trade and the dismantling of barriers to free movement of goods and services in the global market. This has elevated standards of living and brought prosperity to Macau's people. However, globalization also made the territory's economy vulnerable to downturns in the international market and to increasing competition from other Asian economies. Still, Macau has been able to find its economic niche in services and manufacturing.
On the eve of the 21st century, the territory was finally returned to Chinese sovereignty, but was given a high degree of economic autonomy. In the longer term, Macau will depend on economic and political developments in China and Hong Kong. Future economic development depends fully on the capability of the government to maintain the country's economic position and to promote economic growth based on capital-and skill-intensive technologies.
Macau has no territories or colonies.
Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Report: Macau. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, December 2000.
International Financial Statistics Yearbook, 1999. Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund, 2000.
Macau Economic Services. <http://www.economia.gov.mo>.Accessed February 2001.
Macau Statistics and Census Service. <http://www.dsec.gov.mo>.Accessed February 2001.
Macau Statistics and Census Service, Macau. Yearbook of Statistics. Macau Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China: DSEC, 1995.
Macau Trade and Investment Promotion Institute. <http://www.ipim.gov.mo/pageen/home.asp>. Accessed February 2001.
Monetary Authority of Macau. <http://www.amcm.gov.mo>.Accessed February 2001.
Porter, Jonathan. Macau, The Imaginary City: Culture and Society, 1557 to the Present. New Perspectives in Asian Studies. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 2000.
U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000: Macau. <http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/mc.html>. Accessed February 2001.
Pataca (MOP). One Macau pataca equals 100 avos. Coins include denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 avos, as well as MOP1 and MOP5. Paper currency comes in denominations of MOP5, 10, 50, 100, and 500.
Textiles, clothing, toys, electronics, cement, footwear, machinery.
Raw materials, foodstuffs, capital goods, mineral fuel, consumer goods.
GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:
US$7.65 billion (1999 est).
BALANCE OF TRADE:
Exports: US$1.7 billion (1999 est.). Imports: US$1.5 billion (1999 est.).
Abazov, Rafis. "Macau." Worldmark Encyclopedia of National Economies. 2002. Encyclopedia.com. (July 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3410100150.html
Abazov, Rafis. "Macau." Worldmark Encyclopedia of National Economies. 2002. Retrieved July 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3410100150.html
|Official Country Name:||Macau|
|Region:||East & South Asia|
|Language(s):||Portuguese, Chinese (Cantonese)|
Many of Macau's earliest schools were put in place by the Portuguese government, which gained control of the East Asian territory from China in 1557. When Hong Kong was established in 1842, Macau's port became less valuable to traders, and as its economic benefit to Portugal declined, the territory was left to its own devices. Control of Macau reverted from Portugal back to China in 1999 based on a 1987 agreement between both governments.
As a result, the educational system began a series of revisions in 1991. Along with increasing teacher training, improving the existing infrastructure, and building new schools, the country also worked on expanding tertiary education and consolidating the fragmented public education system that had developed there up until the early 1990s.
Because no centralized educational system had ever been put in place, which was partly due to the minimal resources committed to Macau by its colonial leaders, churches, social service groups, businesses, and individuals had started opening schools of their own. The result was a highly decentralized system of education predominated by private schools. Depending on who ran the schools, either English, Portuguese, or Chinese was the language of instruction.
Rather than attempt to dismantle these schools in an effort to create a centralized public education system, the Chinese government decided to offer funding to private institutions willing to provide free education to students. Preprimary and primary students attending participating private institutions were able to do so for free starting in 1995. By 1998, free education was offered at 80 percent of private schools. That year, roughly 87 percent of all schools in Macau used Chinese as the language of instruction (13 percent of these schools taught the Portuguese language as part of the standard curriculum), over 8 percent of the schools used English as the language of instruction, and approximately 4 percent used Portuguese.
Education levels in Macau remain fairly low with roughly 25 percent of the population holding a secondary certificate and under 5 percent attending college. The academic year in Macau runs from September to June. Students enter primary school at the age of six. After the successful completion of six years of study, students who choose to attend secondary school have two options. Some students enter a five-year secondary program that grants them entrance to the Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1991 in conjunction with the University of Macau to offer training in technology, social work, hospitality management, commerce, and tourism. Other students follow a six-year program that allows graduates who pass an entrance examination to enroll at the University of Macau, which offers bachelor's and master's degrees in various majors. When the university was formally established in 1991, it replaced the University of East Asia, which had been founded a decade earlier by the Macau government to offer classes to overflow Hong Kong students. Other institutions of higher education include the Inter-University Institute of Macau, run by the Portuguese Catholic University and the Macau diocese, and the International Open University of Asia (Macau), which offers distance education.
Borton, James. Macau's Commitment to Education. The Washington Times, 25 October 1999. Available from http://www.washtimes.com/.
International Association of Universities. Country: Macau. 26 May 2001. Available from http://unesco.org/iau/.
Kwok-Chun, Tang, and Mark Bray. Colonial Models and the Evolution of Education Systems: Centralization and Decentralization in Hong Kong and Macau. Worldbank Group, 2000. Available from http://www1.worldbank.org/.
—AnnaMarie L. Sheldon
Sheldon, AnnaMarie L.. "Macau." World Education Encyclopedia. 2001. Encyclopedia.com. (July 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3409700134.html
Sheldon, AnnaMarie L.. "Macau." World Education Encyclopedia. 2001. Retrieved July 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3409700134.html
MACAU. Macau (Macao), the "City of the Name of God" in China, was the second largest in Portuguese Asia. Founded in the mid-sixteenth century on an isolated peninsula at the western edge of the mouth of the Pearl River, Macau prospered, since such a commercial center was in the mutual interests of both the Portuguese and the Chinese. Macau was the focus of a trade nexus extending throughout the South China Sea to Malacca (Melaka), south to Macassar (now Ujung Pandang, Indonesia), and north to Nagasaki (in Japan). The most famous and lucrative example of these trade routes was Chinese silk traded for Japanese silver. A state-awarded annual monopoly conducted the trade with very high annual profits. Mexican silver also entered this system via Manila in the Spanish Philippines.
Macau was governed by its senate (municipal council). Officials were selected to serve on this board from the local elites. Given the tremendous distance from the Portuguese viceroy in Goa, a state in India controlled by the Portuguese until 1961, the council had a great deal of independence and power.
Macau grew slowly from its origins as a cluster of fishing villages. The Portuguese were always a small percentage of the total population, which was largely Chinese. In 1583, there were a reported 900 Portuguese present in Macau. By 1640, in a population of 26,000, of which 20,000 were Chinese, only 1,200 were Portuguese.
Perhaps the best indicator of Macau's wealth and importance were the unsuccessful efforts by the Dutch to capture the city in the period 1604–1627. Economics alone did not drive the city, however. It was also a base for Jesuit missions to China and Japan and had a number of impressive churches, monasteries, and convents.
See also Goa ; Portuguese Colonies: The Indian Ocean and Asia .
Menezes, Dom Luis de. "Asia Portuguesa no Tempo do Vice-Rei Conde da Ericeira (1717–1720)." Correspondencia oficial do Conde da Ericeira, edited by C. R. Boxer. Macau, 1970. A unique collection of letters written by one of the viceroys in Goa, much of which relates to Macau.
Boxer, C. R. Fidalgos in the Far East, 1550–1770. The Hague, 1948. A classic work on the growth and development of Macau, written by the leading authority on the Portuguese Empire.
Gomes, Luís Gonzaga. Bibliografia Macaense. 1973 rpt. Macau, 1987. An extensive bibliography of publications about the city.
Oliveira Marques, António Henrique de, ed. História dos Portugueses no Extremo Oriente. Lisbon, 1998. A comprehensive modern collection of essays on the history of Macau.
Porter, Jonathan. Macau, the Imaginary City: Culture and Society, 1557 to the Present. Boulder, Colo., 2000. A wonderful introduction to the intermediary role played by Macau, connecting China and the West. A good starting point for those interested in Macau.
Souza, George Bryan. The Survival of Empire: Portuguese Trade and Society in China and the South China Sea, 1630–1754. Cambridge, U.K., 1986. A modern and comprehensive study of Macau's importance in Southeast Asian trade.
Timothy J. Coates
COATES, TIMOTHY J.. "Macau." Europe, 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. (July 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404900681.html
COATES, TIMOTHY J.. "Macau." Europe, 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World. 2004. Retrieved July 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404900681.html
|Official Country Name:||Macau|
|Region (Map name):||East & South Asia|
|Language(s):||Portuguese, Chinese (Cantonese)|
Macau, a peninsula bordering China and the South China Sea, was colonized by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century, becoming the first European settlement in the Far East. In 1987 through an agreement with Portugal and China, Macau became a special administrative region of China. Despite China's socialist system, Macau enjoys a high degree of autonomy. The president of China serves as the chief of state, but the local government is run by a chief executive who presides over a 23-seat, unicameral Legislative Council. The population of Macau is approximately 445,000, and the literacy rate is 90 percent. National languages are Portuguese and Cantonese, but the majority of the population speaks Cantonese. Mainstays of the economy are tourism—especially gambling— textiles and fireworks.
Although the press in Macau is private, it is not out-spoken, especially concerning the Chinese capital of Beijing, crime syndicates, and activities that challenge the political and business status quo. The government owns controlling interests in radio and television stations. The largest newspaper is the Chinese-language daily Macao Daily News, which boasts an average circulation of 50,000 and appears online. Other dailies printing in Chinese are Ou Mun lat Pou, Journal Si Man, Jornal Va Kio, Tai Chung, Journal Cheng Pou, and Seng Pou. Only Va Kio is available online. There are five main Chinese-language weeklies. Son Pro and Jornal Si-Si appear on Saturday, Jornal O Puso de Macau and Observato'rio deMacau publish on Friday, and Semanario Recreativo deMacau prints on Wednesday. The two Portuguese-language dailies are Jornal Tribuna de Macau andMacau Hoje. Both print Monday through Saturday only and are available online. Portuguese weeklies include O Clarim and Ponto Final, both of which appear on Friday. Ponto Final is available online.
There are two FM stations in Macau broadcasting to 160,000 radios. There are 49,000 televisions and one television station. There is one Internet service provider.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). "Macau." World Fact Book 2001. Available from http://www.cia.gov/.
"Macau." Freedom House, 2000. Available from http://www.freedomhouse.org/.
Macau Daily News, (1998). Available from http://www.macaodaily.com/.
Jenny B. Davis
Davis, Jenny B.. "Macau." World Press Encyclopedia. 2003. Encyclopedia.com. (July 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3409900130.html
Davis, Jenny B.. "Macau." World Press Encyclopedia. 2003. Retrieved July 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3409900130.html
Macao, Aomen, Haijing Ao
Identification. Macau is a city in southern China's Guangdong province, and was until 20 December 1999 an overseas Portuguese territory, founded in 1557. It is now a special administrative region within the People's Republic of China, which agreed to recognize the city's special social and economic system for a period of fifty years.
Macau's status as an outpost of European settlement and commerce in China and its air of isolation gave it a special historical identity. Its population, while politically dominated by the Portuguese and their descendants, was always marked by an admixture of groups and by a steady influx of Chinese migrants. Since the early nineteenth century the majority of the population was Chinese. Macau was located on the old "silk route" and emerged as a major entrepôt (intermediary) trading center in Southeast Asia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The name Macau is derived from the Chinese A-ma-gao Bay of A-Ma. A-ma was the name of a Chinese goddess, popular with the Chinese seafarers and fishermen who had a temple on the peninsula when the Portuguese first anchored there in 1513.
As a creation of the Portuguese, Macau represents a peculiar blend of Oriental and Western influences. This has given rise to a unique and hybrid urban culture, which gives the city an air of romance and nostalgia. At present, it is a rich commercial and industrialized city. Macau also has a reputation, dating from the 1920s and 1930s, as a place of smuggling, gambling, prostitution, and crime controlled by Chinese "triads" (crime syndicates). Macau's gambling houses were (and are) famous across Asia and still form a popular (Chinese) tourist destination.
Location and Geography. Macau is located on a small peninsula and lies at the western shore of the great Pearl River Delta, opposite Hong Kong. Together with its two islands, Taipa and Coloane (connected to the peninsula by large bridges), it measures only some 8.5 square miles (22 square kilometers). Before inclusion into China in December 1999, Macau was separated from the mainland by the Barrier Gate (Portas do Cêrco) frontier. The city has good air links, and ferry and hydrofoil service to the neighboring islands, the mainland, and Hong Kong. A large international airport was opened in 1995.
There is no flora and fauna to speak of, as buildings have filled up most of the available space, and most primeval forest was used for construction and industrial purposes. Some pine forest remains on Coloane. In the late twentieth century significant land reclamation projects were carried out around the peninsula, creating space for new housing and industries, thus doubling the surface area of the city. The climate of Macau is subtropical and humid.
Demography. The city's population is about 465,000 (1999), with 95 percent ethnic Chinese. The Portuguese comprise about 3 percent of the population, with the rest including other Europeans, Indians, and various other groups, such as Filipinos. Immigration from China's mainland has always been significant, fueled by the opportunities of Macau's international trade and dynamic urban economy (especially in the twentieth century there was an exponential growth of immigration). At present, population growth is about 1.8 percent annually. Fertility (1.27 children per woman) is low according to Asian standards. Almost 50 percent of the ethnic Chinese population was born outside Macau, but about 90 percent of the Portuguese were born in Macau.
Linguistic Affiliation. Indigenous languages spoken are Chinese-Cantonese (Yue dialect and Min dialects, about 96 percent of the population) and Portuguese (about 4 percent). Beijing-Chinese (Putonghua dialect) is a second language and growing in influence (for example, it is used in education). English is also expanding as a language in commerce and tourism. The old Macanese language (Patuá, or Makista) was a typical Creole language, based on Portuguese but heavily influenced by various Chinese dialects and by Malay. It has now virtually died out.
Symbolism. The coat of arms of Macau shows two angels around a shield with a crown, one holding a cross and one holding a globe. Beneath is the motto; "City of the Name of God, there is none more loyal," which refers to Macau's Catholic identity and bond with the Portuguese motherland. What the status of this coat of arms will be under Chinese rule is unclear.
As unofficial emblems or symbols of the town one might see the casino as the emblem of "modernity" (giving the city its main income), and the lone facade of Saint Paul's Cathedral as an apt symbol of Macau's past. This façade, a typical Portuguese structure, is the only remnant of an impressive Catholic church destroyed by fire in the eighteenth century. It may symbolize the near token presence of Portuguese culture in a now predominantly Chinese city that owes the larger part of its wealth to the Chinese fascination with gambling and to the efforts of Chinese businessmen and laborers.
History and Ethnic Relations
Emergence of the Nation. Although Portuguese sailors first anchored in 1513 and started using the peninsula for provisioning, Macau as a town was founded in 1557. It was a fixed point on the trade route to the Far East.
Macau always self-consciously maintained its bond with Portugal, even in times of war and turbulence. Religious identity played a great part in this. The city was a foothold for the Jesuits in their efforts to spread the gospel in Japan and China, though without much success. Beginning in the sixteenth century, other groups such as British Protestants, Japanese, and Indians also settled in Macau in small numbers.
Macau thus emerged as a Portuguese colonial settlement with a European-Christian identity, but as a result of its allowing Chinese immigration and settlement from early on, acquired a mixed character. Due to its open, commercial character and its weak military position vis-a`-vis China, there was never any exclusivist policy or national identity, though its political adherence was to Portugal.
Macau-Chinese relations were occasionally tense but never violent. Macau's historical status contrasts with that of Hong Kong, which was forced by Britain from China in an unfair treaty and under the threat of violence.
In 1887, Portugal by treaty received full sovereignty over Macau from China. This was reversed exactly one century later by a new treaty, ceding Macau to China.
National Identity. Macau is a peculiar amalgam of Portuguese and Chinese culture. This is evident in its rich and remarkable architecture, economic activities, and demography, as well as its political culture. Imperial, and later communist, China never gave up its claims to Macau as ultimately a part of China, but its relations toward Macau (and the Portuguese-Macanese attitude toward the Chinese) were marked by pragmatism, laissez-faire, and cooperation, a policy that was in tune with Macau's exceptional position as a hub of economic and commercial activity on the frontier of two worlds. The Chinese in Macau never clamored for inclusion into China (indeed, many came to Macau from the mainland as political and economic refugees) but did not protest when it became inevitable. They acquired, however, a distinguishable identity as Macanese-Chinese visa`-vis the rest of China's people, though this will inevitably fade after the handing over of Macau.
Ethnic Relations. Ethnic relations in Macau, though hierarchical and rooted in a colonial relationship, developed into a largely harmonious and relaxed pattern. Major tensions did occur when China interfered in the internal affairs of the city, as happened occasionally in the nineteenth century and in 1966, during the Cultural Revolution, when there were Chinese-inspired pro-communist riots.
Throughout its history, Macau always received people from many places, either forced (slaves from Africa) or voluntary (Indians, Malay, Filipinos). It also was a hospitable place for refugees, as most evident before and during World War II, when the Japanese offensives drove some 160,000 people (mainly Chinese) to the city, and after 1949, when the communists took over in China.
Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space
The old urban architecture of Macau is one of the most attractive features of the city. Macau was built by the Portuguese, but the Mediterranean-European designs were always given an Oriental slant in actual building, and the Chinese made their own contribution in the form of shrines, temples, and Chinese gardens. The combination has charmed almost all visitors to the place; Macau's historical old city, its churches, forts, statues, parks, monuments, and government palaces give the city a romantic character. But this unique architecture is now also under threat, because massive modernization, population growth, and urban renewal have led to the demolishing and crowding out of many old buildings and neighborhoods. Before and after the handover of Macau to China, several statues and landmarks disappeared (some of them were even shipped to Portugal). Macau is one of the most densely built-up urban areas in the world. Environmental pollution is a growing problem.
Food and Economy
Food in Daily Life. The Macanese cuisine is a much-praised mixture of Portuguese and Mediterranean cooking with some Indian and African influence (as people from Portugal's African colonies also came to Macau). Chinese influence was not pervasive. Macanese cuisine is popular among the Chinese population, and also outside Macau's boundaries, such as in Hong Kong.
Basic Economy. Macau is a rich city, with per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of US$17,500. It was built on entrepôt trade, gambling, and port services. These activities are still very important, despite the fact that the city also has developed into a major industrial center. Of growing significance is Macau's role as a center of financial services, both legal and illegal. Its status as a free port, its low taxes, the absence of foreign exchange controls, its flexible corporate laws, and its long experience in commerce and financial dealing make it an ideal place for uncontrolled, often criminal business schemes. Its relaxed system of governance has traditionally condoned this. There is a large "informal" unregistered sector.
Macau's economy has always been strongly dependent on ties with China and especially Hong Kong. Macau imports virtually all its food items (and even its water) from the Chinese mainland. China in turn derives great benefit from Macau, using it as a gateway to the capitalist world through which it imports and launders huge sums of unregistered money. This aspect of Macau's economy makes it a growing concern for global financial institutions and for the United States, which has identified Macau as a major center of money laundering and financial crime. Organized crime groups have a significant, but not clearly recorded, hold on Macau's economy. Corruption and bureaucratic red tape are a problem.
Land Tenure and Property. Most land is private property and owned by large business syndicates and individuals. Land prices are high due to great scarcity. The Chinese were allowed to acquire property in 1793. Since the 1920s there have been ongoing efforts at land reclamation, financed by both the government and private capital.
Commercial Activities. Macau's economy is based on commerce, import-export, tourism, and gambling (the latter accounting for about 25 percent of GDP), and expanding industrial production. Gambling brings in some 55 percent of the city government's revenue. Still, Macau has an aura of a city not only of casinos but also of shady business deals and financial crime. There are strong indications that China uses Macau as a major conduit of money laundering and unrecorded import-export transactions. Other tourist-related activities are horse, dog, and car races (the Grand Prix of Macau).
Major Industries. After the decline of its port, Macau succeeded in quickly reorienting its economy towards industrialization. Prominent industries include textiles, footwear, toys, incense, machinery, enamel, firecrackers, wooden furniture, Chinese wines, and electronic goods. Small and medium-sized businesses play a remarkably large role.
The tourism industry, centered around the twenty four-hour-a-day casinos, is of great importance, as are prostitution and racketeering. Through these activities the city had already become notorious in the late eighteenth century, with an upsurge in the 1920s and 1930s. Tourism declined somewhat in the late twentieth century.
Trade. International trade was the mainstay of Macau as a free port, and has been important until recently. Its first fortunes were made on the Europe-Japan trade route. Macau is a major importer of goods from China (food, textiles, clothing, electronics, and cheap consumer goods). Some of these are reexported.
Division of Labor. The Portuguese were active in the political administration, the higher civil service, and the army and police; the Macanese were mainly in the professions, in trade, and in some businesses; and the Chinese in business, casinos, fishing, crafts, manual labor, and other trade activities.
Classes and Castes. Macau is largely a Chinese society, though significantly influenced by the specific urban culture and its Portuguese elite. During colonial times, there was a basic stratification in three groups: Portuguese (a small minority of "pure" Portuguese, often immigrants sent or appointed from Portugal), Macanese (a Creole group, some claiming descent from the original Portuguese-Malay unions), and Chinese (within this group there was a complex substratification). There was a prestige ranking of these groups and a certain amount of ethnic-"racial" prejudice, evident at critical social moments, such as choosing a marriage partner.
Economically speaking, the Portuguese were the original dominant class in Macau, although the Chinese, by virtue of their business success and connections with the mainland, soon came to form a powerful stratum. Following the December 1999 handover, the Portuguese political elite has been receding from the administration and government services. Chinese are becoming more prominent in the leading strata of Macanese society. The Portuguese have seemed to close their ranks, although the Macanese are in a more vulnerable position due to the pull of Chinese culture. Business and financial institutions are largely controlled by a small Chinese elite. In Macau's strongly commercial-capitalist economy there is a definite class structure based on wealth and business interests.
Symbols of Social Stratification. Dress, diet, and leisure activities distinguished the various groups from each other. According to social and community background (Portugese, Chinese and Macanese), people of the city visibly differentiate themselves by their religious behavior, leisure activities, and manner of dress, but wealth and social status have cut across any easy "ethnic" identification. Elite groups tend more to resemble each other, sharing smart western clothing, choice of the better residential areas, and leisure activities like attending horse and greyhound races and clubs, literary-cultural activities, and international traveling. In terms of diet, Portugese and other culinary traditions have to some extent mingled in Macau, but their essentials remained distinct and are still a mark of difference if not "identity" among the various communities.
Government. Until December 1999, Macau was ruled by a Portuguese governor, appointed from Lisbon, and assisted by a Legislative Assembly of twenty-three members (citizens and officials). One-third of these were directly elected by the populace, and the rest were either appointed or "chosen" by business interest groups. There was also a ten-member Consultative Council, an advisory body.
Under Chinese rule and the new Basic Law (a temporary constitution, promulgated by the China's National People's Congress in 1993, and instituted in Macau in 1999), there is a chief executive, chosen in a complicated procedure. The Legislative Assembly remained, and was by law accorded sole legislative power. In practice, however, the chief executive has the decisive role. The Basic Law also gave citizens a large number of civic, social, and economic rights. But there was no significant expansion of democratic political rights.
Portuguese law codes still are at the basis of Macau's legal system, and the judiciary is held to be independent. There is a three-tier court system topped by a Supreme Court.
Leadership and Political Officials. The last Portuguese-appointed governor was general Vasco J. Rocha Vieira. In December 1999, Edmundo Ho Hau-Wah (a prominent and well-connected businessman, educated in Canada) assumed the top post of chief executive of Macau. There are no political parties.
Social Problems and Control. There are problems of organized crime, prostitution, trafficking in women, gang wars, and financial crime. Such crimes as assault, rape, and burglary are rare, but kidnappings, stabbings, and homicides frequently occur in the criminal world of the competing triads. The legal environment of Macau is not tight enough to allow the effective combating of organized crime—the traditional attractiveness of the city (and its wealth) is explained by its record of condoning loopholes in economic and financial laws.
Military Activity. Macau was a fortified city, with its own Portuguese army and city forts, that were built in the seventeenth century after a 1622 Dutch naval attack and reinforced after Chinese and British threats to the city. The army was also active against Chinese pirates that infested the Pearl River Delta beginning in the late sixteenth century. In 1975 the military were withdrawn and an internal security force of forty-six hundred men took its place. Since the 1999 handover, a Chinese army garrison of one thousand has been stationed in Macau, but it officially has no role to play in internal security.
Social Welfare and Change Programs
Existing programs in this field—support for orphans, the handicapped, and the aged; refugee care; social work—all have their origins in Christian religions institutions and missionary societies. In addition to the Church foundations, the government has also developed social safety-net provisions.
Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations
There are many cultural and nongovernmental organizations in Macau, devoted to charity, public monuments, heritage preservation, and cultural life. Some of these are financed by prominent businessmen.
Gender Roles and Statuses
Division of Labor by Gender. Women are more and more active in business (forming about 43 percent of the workforce), but are not well-represented in political life. Chinese women in particular are taking their place in public and business life.
The Relative Status of Women and Men. Women and men are equal before the law, and in all private and public organizations must receive equal pay for equal work. In recent years, there were no court cases concerning sex discrimination. There are no significant social or cultural barriers to the participation of women in society. Violence against women is not reported much. Among the Chinese and other Asian groups, women were subject to many more restrictions than among the Portuguese and other European groups, but this has changed due to economic developments.
Marriage, Family, and Kinship
Marriage. The three subcommunities of Macau— the Portuguese, Macanese, and Chinese—have traditionally intermingled, but as the population grew and the Chinese population became more predominant, intermarriage declined. The Portuguese and Macanese had formal monogamous marriage, while the Chinese also engaged in polygamous unions until the 1940s (depending on the economic situation of the husband). Weddings are important and costly occasions for celebration in both the Portuguese and Chinese communities.
Domestic Unit. Among the Chinese, the extended family, based on lineage connections, remains important; among Portuguese and Macanese, the nuclear family is the common domestic unit. Macau's capitalist economic development contributed to the nuclear family becoming the dominant form of domestic unit among all groups. In recent years, many young people live alone and/or marry late.
Inheritance. Inheritance still follows an adapted form of Portuguese law, but recognition is given to Chinese customary law on succession and family matters. Under Chinese rule, only laws approved by Macau's legislative and legal bodies are accepted, not Portuguese "imported" laws.
Kin Groups. Among the Chinese, lineage membership (with an emphasis on the father's side), and occasionally clan identity, remain important elements in social and ritual life. Lineages and extended kin (with some relatives often remaining in the Chinese area of origin) provided the moral framework of economic activity for the Chinese migrants. In Chinese business careers in Macau, the role of relatives on the mother's side has increased, indicating a development away from patrilineal orientation towards bilateral relationships: appealing to relatives from both father's and mother's as a resource.
Infant Care. Children are cared for in the family tradition of their community. In the Chinese community, this means the extended family participates in child rearing.
Child Rearing and Education. Formal schooling is growing in importance as a framework of socialization. The school system is partly run by the government and partly in private hands (also subsidized by the city government). Education levels in Macau are still relatively low. About 25 percent of the population has secondary education, and less than 5 percent go to college. Education is compulsory up to only five years of primary school, though nine years of state education are provided free of charge. Parents show high levels of ambition for their children. There is an increasing demand for schooling, which has led to overcrowding. The overall literacy rate is about 90 percent (slightly less for women). About thirty thousand children (including many Chinese) are educated in Christian schools.
Higher Education. Higher education in Macau is well-developed, with two universities: the University of Macau (before 1991 called the University of East Asia) and the Macau Polytechnic. There are also various nonuniversity institutions, such as the Institute of Tourism Education, the Armed Forces College, and the International Institute of Software Technology.
Chinese culture emphasizes family integrity, lineage solidarity, reserved public behavior toward the powerful, and respect for parents and elder persons (that is, filial piety, or xiao ). These values are also largely maintained in Macau's urban culture. The Portuguese and the Macanese form relatively cohesive subsocieties of Catholics with their distinct values and preferences.
Religious Beliefs. According to 1996 census figures, a majority of the population (some 60 percent) claimed to have no religion. Buddhism is adhered to by some 17 to 20 percent of the population. There are minorities of Roman Catholics (7 percent), and of followers of Taoism and Confucianism (14 percent). There were also several popular Chinese spirit cults in Macau. Other religions such as Islam and Hinduism are adhered to by tiny minorities. In the late 1990s there also emerged a small but growing group of Falun Gong practitioners (although this is not considered a religion).
Notable in Macau's history is the great degree of tolerance and relaxed coexistence of the various religious communities. This is also reflected in the mixed architecture of the town, showing churches, temples, and other places of worship close to each other. The 1998 Religious Freedom Ordinance, which codified freedom of religion, is still in force after the handover to China.
Religious Practitioners. Macau has a Roman Catholic bishop and Buddhist dignitaries. The other religions do not have notable community leaders. Catholic and Buddhist officials often appear together at public functions in the city. Among the Chinese, many geomancers (i.e., diviners interpreting the [in]auspiciousness of lines and figures on the ground) are found.
Rituals and Holy Places. There are many churches and temples in Macau. The oldest religious structure is probably the Ma Kok Miu temple, dating back to a thirteenth century shrine. The most important churches are the Macau Cathedral, the Saint Joseph Seminary, and the Saint Laurence. Saint Paul's Church, of which only the facade remains, was built in the seventeenth century and was the largest church.
Death and the Afterlife. Attitudes toward death and belief in an afterlife differ according to the various religious doctrines. Many Chinese have domestic shrines for ancestor worship.
Medicine and Health Care
Medicine and health care are well-developed in Macau, with thirty-four hospitals and a doctor density of 1.5 per thousand inhabitants. The health-care system has its origins in Catholic Church institutions. There is a good disease- and epidemic-control system, which is important in a densely populated city with high rates of mobility. Health authorities are on alert for imported diseases brought by Chinese immigrants, such as hepatitis B and tuberculosis.
The Chinese and Christian New Year are major holidays. An important Chinese festivity is the Dragon Boat festival.
The Arts and Humanities
Support for the Arts. Before the handover, the city government designated Macau as a "city of culture. " It supported various arts foundations, such as the Fundação Macau and the Fundação Oriente. There are also private cultural foundations, such as the Instituto Português de Oriente. Since the mid-1990s, several new museums have opened, including the Chinese Robert Ho Tung Museum, the Luis de Camões Museum, and the Museum of Art. There is also a National Library. The tourist market and local people have created a demand for contemporary art.
Literature. There is a long Portuguese-Macanese literary tradition in the city, which likes to take inspiration from the myth that the famous seventeenth-century Portuguese poet Luis de Camões spent some time in Macau. The most famous writer in the Macau patois was José dos Santos Ferreira (d. 1993). Macau also inspired many local Chinese poets and authors (such as seventeenth-century poet Wu Li, and twentieth-century author Liang Piyun). The local Chinese and Portuguese literary traditions have remained relatively separate. Chinese Macanese literature is as a rule more political in content.
Graphic Arts. The Chinese graphic arts emerged as landscape painting, Chinese calligraphy, and book illustration. Some European painters (such as George Chinnery, d. 1852, and A. Borget, d. 1877) lived in Macau and depicted life and landscapes of Macau in many drawings, watercolors, and paintings. Notable local painters in nineteenth-century Macau were M. Baptista and Guan Qiaochang. Several Chinese painters in Macau show a creative mix of Chinese and European styles. There are also Portuguese-Macanese artists. The contemporary graphic arts scene (among both Portuguese and Chinese artists) is alive and well, supported by cultural foundations.
Performance Arts. In hotels and clubs one finds traditional Portuguese dance performances, fado singers, Chinese dance groups and foreign artists. The theater scene in Macau is relatively unimportant.
The State of the Physical and Social Sciences
The University of Macau is a notable center for technology studies, ICT, science and social studies. There is also the Inter-University Institute of Macau, which is active in ICT and technology studies. In the sciences, however, Macau stands in the shadow of Hong Kong, which has more institutions and research facilities.
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Boxer, Charles R. "Macao as a Religious and Commercial Entrepôt in the sixteenth and seventeenth Centuries." Acta Asiatica, 26: 64–90, 1974.
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Miu Bing Cheng, Christina. Macau: a Cultural Janus, 1999.
Porter, Jonathan. Macau: The Imaginary City, 1996.
Roberts, Elfed Vaughan, Sum Ngai Ling, and Peter Bradshaw. Historical Dictionary of Hong Kong and Macau, 1992.
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—Jon G. Abbink
ABBINK, JON G.. "Macau." Countries and Their Cultures. 2001. Encyclopedia.com. (July 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3401700147.html
ABBINK, JON G.. "Macau." Countries and Their Cultures. 2001. Retrieved July 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3401700147.html
Macau, China: see Macao.
"Macau." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Encyclopedia.com. (July 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-X-Macau.html
"Macau." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Retrieved July 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-X-Macau.html
"Macau." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Encyclopedia.com. (July 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O233-Macau.html
"Macau." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Retrieved July 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O233-Macau.html