Transfer of sovereignty over Macau
This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The transfer of sovereignty of Macau from the Portuguese Republic to the People's Republic of China (PRC) occurred on 20 December 1999. Macau was settled and governed by Portuguese merchants in 1535, during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 AD). Portugal's involvement in the region was formally recognized by the Qing in 1749. The Portuguese governor João Maria Ferreira do Amaral, emboldened by the First Opium War and the Treaty of Nanking, attempted to annex the territory, expelling Qing authorities in 1846, but was assassinated. After the Second Opium War, the Portuguese government, along with a British representative, signed the Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Peking that gave Portugal sovereignty over Macau, on the condition that Portugal would cooperate in efforts to end the smuggling of opium.
After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, and the transfer of China's seat to the PRC at the United Nations in 1971, foreign minister Huang Hua appealed to the UN Special Committee on Decolonization to remove Macau (and Hong Kong) from its list of colonies, preferring bilateral negotiations ending in a return of the territory, rather than the expected independence outcome. The authoritarian right-wing government of Portugal was expelled by the Carnation Revolution, a coup that occurred in 1974. Within one year, the government of Portugal withdrew troops from Macau, withdrew recognition of the Republic of China in favour of the People's Republic, and began negotiations for the return of Macau. Four conferences from June 1986 to March 1987 resulted in a Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration on 13 April 1987 and the transfer of sovereignty on 20 December 1999. Macau is granted a high level of autonomy and the retention of its legal system by the Macau Basic Law.
The history of Macau is traced back to the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC), when the region now called Macau came under the jurisdiction of Panyu county, in Nanhai prefecture (present day Guangdong). The Portuguese arrived in the 16th century and wished to obtain rights to anchor ships in Macau's harbours and to carry out trading activities. Around 1552–1553, they obtained temporary permission to erect storage sheds onshore, in order to dry out goods drenched by sea water; they soon built rudimentary stone houses around the area now called Nam Van. In 1557, the Portuguese established a permanent settlement in Macau, paying an annual rent of 500 taels ( 20 kilograms / 44 pounds ) of silver as an annual lease. Because of the activities of Portuguese settlers and Japanese Wokou, the Ming Dynasty tightened its control over Macau between 1608 and 1614. In 1623, the Portuguese government appointed D. Francisco Mascarenhas as the Governor of Macau. At first, the governor was only responsible for the defence of Macau, and Fortaleza do Monte was constructed for this purpose. In 1749, the Qing government issued a complete set of guidelines for Portugal's administration of Macau and carved the Portuguese version on a stela in the Edifício do Leal Senado. However, the Governor of Macau, the representative of Portugal, gradually took over the power of the Senado.
When the Treaty of Nanking was signed in 1842 between Britain and China, the Portuguese government requested the Qing government to exempt them from the ground rent. The Qing authorities refused the request, but retained the preferentials that were already given to Portugal. However, on 20 November 1845, Maria II of Portugal unilaterally declared Macau a free port in which Portugal was exempt from ground rent and allowed merchant vessels of other countries to interact freely in Macau. After the new Governor of Macau, João Ferreira do Amaral, arrived in 1846, a series of colonial policies were enforced in Macau. In May 1846, Amaral demanded that all Chinese residents in Macau pay ground rent, poll tax and property tax, which broadened Portuguese rule in Macau over the Chinese residents. The Qing authorities in Macau immediately protested against Amaral's action and attempted to negotiate. However, beginning in 1849, Amaral expelled all Qing officials from Macau, destroyed the Qing Customs and stopped paying ground rent to the Qing government. Amaral's actions enraged the Chinese residents further, and he was assassinated on 22 August 1849.
In 1862, the Portuguese and Qing governments signed the draft of the Sino-Portuguese Peaceful Trade Pact. However, the Portuguese had the intention of annexing Macau with this pact. The intention was discovered and negotiations were stopped. The topic was not brought up again until 1886, when the Portuguese representative, along with the British representative, opened negotiations with the Qing government once again. Promising that they would cooperate on the anti-smuggling of opium, the Qing and Portuguese governments signed the Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Peking and the Sino-Portuguese Peaceful Trade Relation Pact. These treaties stated that, "Agreed by China, Portugal will remain in Macau and administer its land the same way Portugal administers other places". However, to avoid the total loss of sovereignty, the Qing government reserved the right to prevent Portugal from transferring Macau to another country. If Portugal were going to transfer Macau to another country, they would require the permission of the Chinese government.
When the government of the People's Republic of China obtained its seat in the United Nations as a result of the UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 in 1971, it began to act diplomatically on the sovereignty issues of Hong Kong and Macau. Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai was especially concerned with the issues. In March 1972, the Chinese UN representative, Huang Hua, wrote to the United Nations Decolonization Committee to state the position of the Chinese government:
The questions of Hong Kong and Macau belong to the category of questions resulting from the series of unequal treaties which the imperialists imposed on China. Hong Kong and Macau are part of Chinese territory occupied by the British and Portuguese authorities. The settlement of the questions of Hong Kong and Macau is entirely within China's sovereign right and do not at all fall under the ordinary category of colonial territories. Consequently they should not be included in the list of colonial territories covered by the declaration on the granting of independence to colonial territories and people. With regard to the questions of Hong Kong and Macau, the Chinese government has consistently held that they should be settled in an appropriate way when conditions are ripe.
The same year, on 8 November, the United Nations General Assembly passed the resolution on removing Hong Kong and Macau from the official list of colonies. This created the conditions for the Chinese government to solve the sovereignty issues of Hong Kong and Macau peacefully.
On 25 April 1974, a group of low-ranking Portuguese officers organised a coup d'état, overthrowing the right-wing ruling government that had been in power for 48 years. The new government began the democratisation process. The new Portuguese government carried out de-colonization policies, and proposed Macau's handover to China.
On 31 December 1975, the Portuguese government withdrew its remaining troops from Macau. President António Ramalho Eanes attended the General Assembly of the United Nations a year later, and discussed with the Chinese representative, Huang Hua, the establishment of diplomatic relations between Portugal and China, and issues of Macau. After two years of discussions, the Portuguese government decided to break off diplomatic relations with the Republic of China on 8 February 1979, and established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China the next day. Both Portugal and the People's Republic of China recognised Macau as the territory of China, and the exact time for its return and other details would be discussed later between the two sides.
After Portugal and the People's Republic of China formally established diplomatic relations, officials of the two countries began to visit each other. In March 1980, the Governor of Macau, Nuno Viriato Tavares de Melo Egídio, accepted an invitation from Beijing and visited China. As the relationship between Portugal and China developed, their heads of state began to visit each other also. In November 1984, the President of the People's Republic of China, Li Xiannian, made a visit to Portugal and met the President of Portugal, António Ramalho Eanes, to exchange opinions on the issues of Macau. In May 1985, Eanes returned the favour by visiting China and met the de facto leader of China Deng Xiaoping, and expressed his desire to solve the issues of Macau in a friendly manner.
Britain and China reached a consensus on the sovereignty question of Hong Kong, which was more complex in its nature. The consensus included the draft of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Likewise, Sino-Portuguese relations developed steadily, and solving the question of Macau through negotiation was gradually made possible.
On 20 May 1986, the People's Republic of China, along with Portugal, officially announced that talks on Macanese affairs would take place in Beijing on 30 June. The Portuguese delegation arrived in Beijing in June, and was welcomed by the Chinese delegation led by Zhou Nan.
The talks consisted of four sessions, all held in Beijing:
- The first conference: 30 June – 1 July 1986
- The second conference: 9 – 10 September 1986
- The third conference: 21 – 22 October 1986
- The fourth conference: 18 – 23 March 1987
During the negotiations, Portuguese representatives offered to return the Macau on 1985, but Chinese representatives rejected that year (as well rejecting previous requests on 1967, 1975 and 1977). China requested 1997, the same year as Hong Kong, but Portugal refused. 2007 was suggested as it would 450th anniversary of Portugal renting Macau, but China insisted for a year before 2000. Eventually the year 1999 was agreed upon. 
On 13 April 1987, the Joint Declaration on the Question of Macau by the governments of the People's Republic of China and the Portuguese Republic was formally signed by the Prime Ministers of both governments in Beijing.
The twelve years between the signing of the "Sino-Portuguese Declaration" on 13 April 1987 and the transfer of sovereignty on 20 December 1999 were known as "the transition".
On 15 January 1988, the Chinese Foreign Affairs Department announced the Chinese members of the groups that would begin the talk on the issues of Macau during the transition. On 13 April, the "Draft of the Basic Law of the Macau Special Administrative Region Committee" was established during the seventh National People's Congress, and on 25 October, the committee convened the first conference, in which they passed the general outline of the draft and the steps, and decided to organise the "Draft of the Basic Law of Macau Special Administrative Region Information Committee". On 31 March 1993, the National People's Congress passed the resolution on the Basic Law of Macau, which marked the beginning of the latter part of the transition.
In the afternoon of 19 December 1999, the 127th Portuguese Governor of Macau Vasco Joaquim Rocha Vieira lowered the flags in Macau, which was the prelude of the ceremony for the establishment of the Macau Special Administrative Region. The official transfer of sovereignty was held at midnight on that day at the Cultural Center of Macau Garden. The ceremony began in the evening and ended at dawn of 20 December.
The evening of 19 December began with dragon and lion dances. These were followed by a slideshow of historical events and features of Macau, which included a mixture of the religions and races of the East and the West, and the unique society of native Portuguese born in Macau. In the final performance, 422 children who represented the 422 years of Portuguese history in Macau were presented along with several international stars to perform the song "Praise for Peace".
This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2007) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The transfer of the sovereignty of Macau was a significant historical event in Macau, as it returned Macau to China. Because the transfer and the idea of one country, two systems were considered to be successful, the Macau Special Administrative Region, the Legislative Assembly and the Judiciary were all put into practice accordingly under the regulation of the Basic Law.
The steady growth of the Macau Special Administrative Region benefited from the support of the government of China. Since the establishment of the region, public security has been improved and the central government even designated Macau as the city for expansion of gambling-related tourism. The introduction of the Individual Visit Scheme policy made it easier for Chinese mainland residents to travel back and forth. In 2005 alone, there were more than 10 million tourists from mainland China, which made up 60% of the total number of tourists in Macau. The income from the gambling houses in Macau reached almost US$5.6 billion. On 15 July 2005, the Historic Center of Macau was listed as a World Cultural Heritage site. The increasing development of tourism became a major factor in the rapid development of the economy of Macau.
For Portugal, the transfer of the sovereignty of Macau to China marked the end of the Portuguese overseas empire and its decolonisation process and also the end of European imperialism in China & Asia. 
Before and after handoverEdit
|Unchanged after 20 December 1999||Changed after 20 December 1999|
- The Hong Kong Reader: Passage to Chinese Sovereignty, Ming K. Chan, Gerard A. Postiglione, M.E. Sharpe, 1996, page 45
- Portuguese behavior towards the political transition and the regional integration of Macau in the Pearl River Region, Moisés Silva Fernandes, in Macau and Its Neighbours in Transition, Rufino Ramos, José Rocha Dinis, D.Y.Yuan, Rex Wilson, University of Macau, Macau Foundation, 1997, page 48
- Portugal, China Sign Accord to Return Tiny Macao to Chinese Control in 1999, United Press International, Los Angeles Times, April 14, 1987
- Voice of America (Chinese): The gambling income in Macau is catching up with Las Vegas
- Portuguese makes comeback in Macau, South China Morning Post, 10 June, 2009
- Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law: 1997, Jochen Abraham Frowein, Rüdiger Wolfrum, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1997, page 462
- China, Macau, sign board of city street
- The Legal and Judiciary System of Macao,People's Daily, December 15, 2009
- Currency in Circulation in Macao, Monetary Authority of Macau
- Bank of China Authorized to Issue HKD and MOP (1987 - 1992), Bank of China
- Police expects visitor increase with round-the-clock borders, Macau Daily Times, 17 December 2014
- LCQ1: Immigration clearance and entry visas to the Mainland for non-Chinese Hong Kong permanent residents with foreign passports, Government Information Centre, February 15, 2012
- Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode in the Macao SAR, Identification Services Bureau
- Exit and Entry Administration Law of the People's Republic of China, Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
- EU Relations with Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR), European External Action Service
- Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Direcção dos Serviços de Economia
- Macao and Lao initialed new Air Services Agreement to liberalize the air transport market between the two places, Civil Aviation Authority of Macao SAR, November 24, 2010
- Restrictions on Taiwan- Macau flights to be lifted, Taipei Times, February 18, 2014
- Macau at the FIFA website
- About Sports & Olympic Committee of Macau, China
- Strolling in Macau: A Visitor's Guide to Macau, Taipa, and Coloane, Steven K. Bailey, ThingsAsian Press, 2007, page 177
- Macau Cars Number Plates
- Circular com matrículas antigas, E-Konomista
- Blurring Boundary – Macao, Hengqin draw closer with 24-hour border crossing, Macauhub, June 6, 2015
- The following countries/territories have agreed to grant visa-free access or visa-on-srrival to the holders of Macao (SAR) passport
- Hong Kong & Macau, Andrew Stone, Chung Wah Chow, Reggie Ho, Lonely Planet, 2008, page 309
- Keesing's Record of World Events, Volume 37, Longman, 1991
- Europa World Year Book 2004, Taylor & Francis, 2004, pages 1179-80
- Portuguese elected to Macao Parliament, The Portugal News, 1 October 2005
- Lau in passport battle, The Independent, 16 December 1997
- A quarter of a century: Remembering Tiananmen, Macau Business Daily, June 5, 2015
- HK concern over Macau entry ban, BBC News Online, 4 March 2009
- Macau threatens press freedom, South China Morning Post, 3 May, 2012
- Think tank says co-op between govt, civic groups 'important'. Macau News, July 21, 2014
- Ms. Huang Ling, Member of Standing Committee of Xiamen Municipal Committee and Director of the United Front Work Department, and entourages visited CityU, City University of Macau, November 24, 2015
- Pope appoints Hong Kong bishop to Macau, Vatican Radio, 16 January 2016
- Religious Freedom in Asia, Edward P. Lipton Nova Publishers, 2002, page 101
- Macao, China, International Telecommunication Union, 19 February 2013
- China Law, Issues 1-6, 2008, page 50
- Fast Facts in China, Frommer's
- World Radio TV Handbook, WRTH Publications Ltd, 2008, page 642
- ISO Online Browsing Platform: MO
- ISO Online Browsing Platform: CN
- About Us, Correios de Macau
- Macao, China, Universal Postal Union
- First Globalization: The Eurasian Exchange, 1500-1800, Geoffrey C. Gunn, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003, page 270
- Controversial Macao statue pulled down, United Press International, October 28, 1992
- "João Ferreira do Amaral". Sítio da Câmara Municipal de Lisboa. Lisbon City Hall. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
A mudança da administração do território macaense implicou a transferência da estátua para Lisboa, que foi inaugurada no Bairro da Encarnação, em Dezembro de 1999.
- Household LPG - Macao Consumer Council,
- Role of the Chief Executive Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region
- Political Handbook of the World 1997, Arthur S. Banks, Alan J. Day, Thomas C. Muller, Springer, 1997, page 687
- Government Headquarters to open to the public during the weekend, Government Information Bureau, 15 October, 2015
- Commercial and Economic Law in Macau, Jianhong Fan, Alexandre Dias Pereira, Kluwer Law International, page 23
- Trade Policy Review: Macau, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, 1994, page 15
- Macao's judicial system being improved: court chief, China Daily, December 10, 2014
- China Macau Government Headquarters
- The Portuguese consulate building in Macau, China
- Portugal's Last Days in Macao Marred by Chinese Troop Issue, The New York Times, March 23, 1999
- Renamed Xinhua becomes a new force in Hong Kong's politics, Taipei Times, 21 January 2000
- Asia Yearbook, Far Eastern Economic Review, 1988
- Macao SAR Government to Set up Office in Beijing, July 26, 2000
- External Economic & Trade Relations > Trade Representative Offices, Macao Economic Services
- Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China in the Macao Special Administrative Region
- Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau Building
- Consulado Geral de Portugal em Macau e Hong Kong
- Official Journal of the European Communities: Information and notices, Volume 33, Issues 134-148, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1990, page 140
- Macao allows Taipei office to issue visas to Chinese, Taipei Times, 7 January 2002
- MAC minister launches renamed Taiwan office in Macau,Taiwan Today, July 20, 2011
- Filatelia | Macau, selo a selo, Revista Macau, 13 April 2015
- Macao Magazine, November 2012, page 31
- Sobre o CPSP > História, Corpo de Polícia de Segurança Pública (CPSP) da Região Administrativa Especial de Macau
- Decorations, Medals and Certificates of Merit List for 2014, Government Information Bureau, 11 November 2014
- The Europa Year Book, Volume 2, Taylor & Francis, 1991, page 2219
- China Perspectives, Issues 33-38, C.E.F.C., 2001, page 58
- Jane's All the World's Aircraft, pages 48-49
- Airlines of Asia: Since 1920, Putnam, 1997, page 277
- Lotus Square, Macao Government Tourism Office
- Achieving the unthinkable: University of Macau in Hengqin, China Daily, August 2013
- University of Macau Moves Over the China Border, The New York Times, July 14, 2013
- Official website
- The Chinese garrison in Macau (in Chinese)
- Lai, Pauline Pou San. "Civil service training in the Macau Government" (Chapter 7). In: Podger, Andrew and John Wanna (editors). Sharpening the Sword of State: Building Executive Capacities in the Public Services of Asia-Pacific. ANU Press, 2016. ISBN 9781760460723 (paperback), 9781760460730 (ebook). HTML version of the chapter.