espite some rumblings that the region should become a more “democratic” state, no changes in the current form of government are anticipated, according to a story filed last week by Reuters’ Farah Master. Chui’s election was not a general election but rather with only some 400 specially-designated pro-China loyalists taking part.
Recently, there have been reports that activists were pushing for universal suffrage in both Hong Kong and Macau. In fact, Hong Kong police on Sunday had to use pepper spray to disperse pro-democracy protesters.
It was noted, however, that despite the efforts in Hong Kong, “none of the people in charge of Macau,” ever praised democratic values, but only praised consultation, scientific governance and harmony.
Macau, said Master’s in his Reuters’ piece, which returned to China from Portugal in 1999, does not have a history of activism, unlike Hong Kong, where the Legislative Council is polarized between pro-Beijing conservatives and those calling for a free vote.
So far, even with rising revenues from popular casinos, Macau has been largely apolitical, but some disgruntled residents have been railing against inequalities and poor public services. And, last week there were demonstrations against what some have described as low-paying casino jobs.
Younger Macau residents seem to have become aware of the discrepancy between the wealth and the dire public services being offered, including its overrun single public hospital.
“This is really the infancy of people realizing their frustrations, their disenchantment and their frustration at the system,” said Eric Sautede, a former professor of politics at Macau’s University of Saint Josep.