President Xi Jinping on Thursday evening attended a grand gala in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Macao’s return to the motherland, according to Xinhua.
Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan were present at the variety show in the Macao East Asian Games Dome with lion dance and performance of classical operas, patriotic songs and dancing.
At a lavish banquet in the former Portuguese colony, Xi said, “Loving the motherland as well as Macau has become a core value across society.”
“They cherish a strong sense of national identity and patriotism and the belief that the love for the motherland and the love for Macau are nothing but the same,” he added.
At the time of crisis in Hong Kong, the authoritarian leadership is keen to showcase Macau as a successful example of its “one country, two systems” model, with the pliant city of 700,000 growing rich on gambling and deference to authoritarian rule.
The dictatorship is keen to showcase Macao as a city where Chinese culture is integrating with the western culture, and its residents are living in harmony with an increasing sense of happiness, gain and security.
Before the gala, Xi delivered a speech at a welcome banquet marking the 20th anniversary of Macao’s handover to China, where he commended the historic achievements made by Macao in economic and social development.
“The past 20 years are also a period that saw Macao compatriots share dignity of the great motherland and enjoy the greatest sense of glory,” said Xi.
When meeting with local officials, Xi said the administrative, legislative and judicial organs strictly abided by the Constitution and the Basic Law of the Macao SAR and performed duties well under the leadership of Chief Executive Chui Sai On over the past five years.
Before traveling to Macau, Xi met Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam in Beijing, recognising her courage to govern the Asian financial hub in these “most difficult” times.
“The situation in Hong Kong in 2019 was the most complex and difficult since its return to the motherland,” Xi told local media in brief comments before the closed door session on Monday.
Xi Jinping started his tour to the south of the country on Tuesday. He attended the commissioning of China’s first entirely home-built aircraft carrier, underscoring the country’s rise as a regional naval power at a time of tensions with the US and others over trade, Taiwan and the South China Sea.
State media reported that about 5,000 representatives from the naval forces and aircraft carrier construction groups attended the commissioning ceremony Tuesday at a naval base near the city of Sanya.
“Commending China’s achievements in aircraft carrier construction, Xi encouraged them to continue their efforts to make new contributions in the service of the party and the people,” Xinhua news reported.
The base in the southern island province of Hainan opens onto the South China Sea, where China is engaged in an increasingly heated dispute over territory and undersea oil and gas resources.
by Winnie Troppie