MACAU—Festivities marking Macau’s return to Chinese communist rule were marred by a mass rally and protest march calling for an end to government corruption, more freedom, and better wages. Ten years ago, on December 20, Macau was returned to China from Portuguese colonial rule. It is one of the richest regions under China’s rule.
A thriving gambling industry in Macau has brought rapid economic growth to the island since its return to Chinese rule in 1999. Many residents of Macau, however, have not benefited from the booming gambling industry.
A Sense of Hopelessness
Protesters waved banners and chanted anti-corruption slogans. Similar rallies also occurred on Labor Day and Nation Day.
A construction worker surnamed Tan said he has participated in similar rallies for eight years, but the government has never responded to their grievances.
“The government imports an excessive number of foreign laborers. As a result, work is not available for local workers. I have no choice but to come out to join the protest. The government has been in charge of Macau for ten years. The situation seems hopeless,” he said.
Tan said that previously he was able to work and support his family as a third-class citizen under the laws enacted during Portuguese colonial rule. Since Macau has been under Chinese rule, however, he has been out of work constantly.
Lei, a student participant, told The Epoch Times that wages for a college graduate in Macau are about the same as what a casino dealer gets paid.
Another student, surnamed Pan, said he worries about his future and feels there is little hope. Perhaps, he said, the new Chief Executive will do more for them and give them more options for the future.
Chinese regime leader Hu Jintao attended the celebrations, which included the swearing-in of the third-term Chief Executive of the Macau Special Administrative Region.
Read original Chinese article.