U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Macau
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||30 January 1998|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Macau, 30 January 1998, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa1850.html [accessed 21 December 2014]|
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, January 30, 1998.
MACAUMacau, a 13 square mile enclave on the south China coast, is recognized by both China and Portugal as Chinese territory under Portuguese administration. The Organic Statute of 1976, which serves as the constitution, grants it considerable administrative, financial, and legislative autonomy. Both the Governor and the Legislative Assembly exercise legislative power. The Governor, appointed by the Portuguese President, holds extensive powers under the Organic Statute. Under the 1987 Sino-Portuguese joint declaration, Macau will become a Special Administration Region of China on December 20, 1999, and operate under the principle of one country, two systems, to remain unchanged for 50 years. The future constitution, the Basic Law, was promulgated by China's National People's Congress on March 31, 1993. Portuguese metropolitan law serves as the basis for the legal system, which features a judiciary and public trials. The police force maintains public order and is under civilian control. The market-based economy is fueled by textile and garment exports, along with tourism and gambling. A depressed real estate market and stagnant exports have limited economic growth in recent years, a trend that continued in 1997. Despite the economic downturn, most citizens still enjoy a high standard of living. Although the people of Macau enjoy a wide range of rights and freedoms as residents of a Portuguese-administered territory, they have limited ability to change their government. Voters directly elect only one-third of the legislators, and the territory's future path has been set by the Governments of Portugal and China. Legislation, effective in November 1995 provided greater equality in the work force for women. Although China, through the Basic Law, agreed to continue the application of international covenants on civil and political rights and on economic, social, and cultural rights after 1999, human rights activists remain concerned that China made no obligation to submit regular reports in these areas. There are credible reports that media self-censorship continues on issues considered to be sensitive to China.