Friday, May 6, 2016

Macau

Macau澳門, is an autonomous territory but part of China.  It is officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, 中華人民共和國澳門特別行政區.  It borders the Chinese province of Guangdong and is 60 km (37 miles) from Hong Kong.

It is less than one-sixth the size of Washington, DC.  With about 648,000 people living in 30,5 km² (11,8 miles²)  it is the world's most densely populated region.

Portugal colonised Macau in the 16th century making it the first European settlement in the Far East.

When Macau was given back to China on 20 December 1999 it was Asia's last European colony.  It is now a Special Administrative Region.  As part of China's "one country, two systems" policy, Macau is to continue having a high level of autonomy for 50 years which will end in 2049.

Macau has its own government, legal system, police force, immigration policy, postal system, languages, national sports teams and money.  While able to be a part of other international organisations, such as the World Trade Organisation, it is not part of the United Nations.  China is responsible for all diplomatic relations and defence.  The People's Liberation Army is stationed in Macau but it is not allowed to interfere in local affairs.


The official currency is the Macanese Pataca.  Although the Hong Kong Dollar is widely accepted.



The official languages are Cantonese Chinese and Portuguese.  Signs are all in both languages even though less than 1% of the people speak Portuguese.

Macau is one of the world'ß largest gaming centres.  It is very popular with tourists from Mainland China who go to gamble.  Gaming revenue makes up more than 75% of the governments total revenue.

Over the past couple of years the government's take from gambling has decreased due to the slowing of the Chinese economy and the China's crackdown on money laundering and tax evasion.  Here's an interesting video I found out on YouTube that is about the effect of the slowdown.
video
©Al Jazeera

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