Macau

Macau

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Macau'
Start a new discussion about 'Macau'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Macau also spelled Macao (icon), is, along with Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, one of the two special administrative regions
Special administrative region (People's Republic of China)
A special administrative region is a provincial-level administrative division of the People's Republic of China, for which creation is provided by Article 31 of the 1982 Constitution of the People's Republic of China Article 31 reads "The state may establish special administrative regions when...

 of the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

. It lies on the western side of the Pearl River Delta
Pearl River Delta
The Pearl River Delta , Zhujiang Delta or Zhusanjiao in Guangdong province, People's Republic of China is the low-lying area surrounding the Pearl River estuary where the Pearl River flows into the South China Sea...

, bordering Guangdong province
Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

 to the north and facing the South China Sea
South China Sea
The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Singapore and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around...

 to the east and south.

The territory's economy is heavily dependent on gambling and tourism but also includes manufacturing.

Macau was a Portuguese colony
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

 and both the first and last European colony in China. Portuguese traders first settled in Macau in the 16th century and subsequently administered the region until the handover on 20 December 1999. The Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration and the Basic Law of Macau stipulate that Macau operates with a high degree of autonomy until at least 2049, fifty years after the transfer.

Under the policy of "one country, two systems
One country, two systems
"One country, two systems" is an idea originally proposed by Deng Xiaoping, then Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China , for the reunification of China during the early 1980s...

", the PRC's Central People's Government
Central People's Government
The Central People's Government is the central government of the People's Republic of China in Beijing. According to the 1982 Constitution, "Central People's Government" is synonymous with the State Council.-History:...

 is responsible for the territory's defense and foreign affairs, while Macau maintains its own legal system
Legal system of Macau
Macau law is broadly based on Portuguese law, and therefore part of the civil law tradition of continental European legal systems. Portuguese law is itself highly influenced by German law...

, police force
Public Security Police Force of Macau
The Public Security Police Force of Macau is the police department of Macau under the Macau Security Forces. Originally known at first as the Macau Police , the force went through several name changes before taking on its current name...

, monetary system, customs policy, and immigration policy
Immigration to Macau
With the increase in prosperity and the expansion of the economy of Macau, there is a growing demand from all over the world for residency in the Special Administrative Region....

. Macau participates in many international organizations and events that do not require members to possess national sovereignty.
According to The World Factbook
The World Factbook
The World Factbook is a reference resource produced by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States with almanac-style information about the countries of the world. The official paper copy version is available from the National Technical Information Service and the Government Printing Office...

, Macau has the second highest life expectancy in the world.

Etymology



Before the Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 settlement in the early 16th century, Macau was known as Haojing (Oyster Mirror) or Jinghai (Mirror Sea). The name Macau is thought to be derived from the A-Ma Temple
A-Ma Temple
A-Ma Temple , situated on the southwest tip of the Macau Peninsula, is one of the oldest and most famous Taoist temples in Macau. Built in 1488, the temple is dedicated to Matsu, the goddess of seafarers and fishermen....

, a temple built in 1448 dedicated to Matsu
Matsu (goddess)
Mazu , also spelt Matsu, is the indigenous goddess of the sea who is said to protect fishermen and sailors, and is invoked as the patron deity of all Southern Chinese and East Asian persons...

 – the goddess of seafarers and fishermen. It is said that when the Portuguese sailors landed at the coast just outside the temple and asked the name of the place, the natives replied "媽閣" . The Portuguese then named the peninsula "Macau". The present Chinese name (澳門, Àomén) means "Inlet Gates".

History




The history of Macau is traced back to the Qin Dynasty
Qin Dynasty
The Qin Dynasty was the first imperial dynasty of China, lasting from 221 to 207 BC. The Qin state derived its name from its heartland of Qin, in modern-day Shaanxi. The strength of the Qin state was greatly increased by the legalist reforms of Shang Yang in the 4th century BC, during the Warring...

 (221–206 BC), when the region now called Macau came under the jurisdiction of Panyu county, in Nanhai prefecture (present day Guangdong
Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

). The first recorded inhabitants of the area were people seeking refuge in Macau from invading Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

 during the Southern Song Dynasty. Under the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 (1368–1644 AD), fishermen migrated to Macau from Guangdong and Fujian
Fujian
' , formerly romanised as Fukien or Huguing or Foukien, is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. Fujian is bordered by Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait...

 provinces.
Macau did not develop as a major settlement until the Portuguese arrived in the 16th century. In 1535, Portuguese traders obtained the rights to anchor ships in Macau's harbours and to carry out trading activities, though not the right to stay onshore. Around 1552–1553, they obtained temporary permission to erect storage sheds onshore, in order to dry out goods drenched by sea water; they soon built rudimentary stone houses around the area now called Nam Van. In 1557, the Portuguese established a permanent settlement in Macau, paying an annual rent of 500 tael
Tael
Tael can refer to any one of several weight measures of the Far East. Most commonly, it refers to the Chinese tael, a part of the Chinese system of weights and currency....

s ( 20 kilogram
Kilogram
The kilogram or kilogramme , also known as the kilo, is the base unit of mass in the International System of Units and is defined as being equal to the mass of the International Prototype Kilogram , which is almost exactly equal to the mass of one liter of water...

s / 44 pound
Pound (mass)
The pound or pound-mass is a unit of mass used in the Imperial, United States customary and other systems of measurement...

s ) of silver. The Portuguese continued to pay an annual tribute up to 1863 in order to stay in Macau.

In 1564, Portugal commanded the trade of India, Japan, and China, though the Portuguese pride was deeply shocked at the supreme indifference with which the Chinese treated them. Their atrocities at Ningpo and Macao, and their subsequent servility, had opened the eyes of the Celestials to their true character, and unfortunately for other European adventurers, they had come to the conclusion that all western nations were alike. The senate of Macao
Mação
Mação is a municipality in Portugal with a total area of 400.0 km² and a total population of 7,763 inhabitants.The municipality is composed of eight parishes, and is located in the Santarém District....

 complained to the viceroy of Goa, of the contempt with which the Chinese authorities treated them, confessing however that “it was owing more to the Portuguese themselves than to the Chinese”. The Chinese were obliged to restrict the commerce of Portugal to the port of Macao, in 1631.

During the 17th century some 5,000 slaves lived in Macao, in addition to 2,000 Portuguese and 20,000 Chinese. The cost of one Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

 slave was 25 patacas.

As more Portuguese settled in Macau to engage in trading, they made demands for self-administration; but this was not achieved until the 1840s. In 1576, Pope Gregory XIII established the Roman Catholic Diocese of Macau
Roman Catholic Diocese of Macau
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Macau was established on January 23, 1576 by the edict of Pope Gregory XIII. It originally covered China, Japan, Vietnam and the Malay archipelago, with the exception of the Philippines...

. In 1583, the Portuguese in Macau were permitted to form a Senate to handle various issues concerning their social and economic affairs under strict supervision of the Chinese authority, but there was no transfer of sovereignty.

Macau prospered as a port but was the target of repeated failed attempts by the Dutch to conquer it in the 17th century. On June 24, 1622, the Dutch attacked Macau in the Battle of Macau
Battle of Macau
The Battle of Macau in 1622 was a conflict of the Dutch-Portuguese War fought in the Portuguese settlement of Macau, in southeastern China. The Portuguese, outnumbered and without adequate fortification, managed to repel the Dutch in a much-celebrated victory on June 24 after a three-day battle...

, expecting to turn it into a Dutch possession after its conquest. African slaves who fought for the Portuguese repulsed the Dutch attack, and the Dutch never tried to conquer Macau again. The majority of the defenders were Africans slaves, with only a few Portuguese soldiers and priests. Captain Kornelis Reyerszoon was commander of the 800 Dutch strong invasion force.

The Dutch Governor Jan Coen said after the defeat that "The slaves of the Portuguese at Macao served them so well and faithfully, that it was they who defeated and drove away our people there last year", and "Our people saw very few Portuguese" during the battle.

Following the Opium War (1839–42), Portugal occupied Taipa
Taipa
Taipa is the smaller of the two islands in the Chinese special administrative region of Macao .- Geography :It is 2.5 kilometres from Macau Peninsula and east of the Lesser Hengqin Island of Zhuhai, Guangdong Province...

 and Coloane
Coloane
Coloane is one of the two main islands of the Macau Special Administrative Region, located directly south of Macau's other main island, Taipa , and east of Hengqin Island of Zhuhai in Guangdong province....

 in 1851 and 1864 respectively. On 1 December 1887, the Qing and Portuguese governments signed the Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Amity and Commerce, under which China ceded the right of "perpetual occupation and government of Macau by Portugal" in compliance with the statements of the Protocol of Lisbon. In return, Macau Government would cooperate with Hong Kong's smuggle of Indian opium and China would be able to increase profits through customs taxes. Portugal was also obliged "never to alienate Macau without previous agreement with China", therefore ensuring that negotiation between Portugal and France (regarding a possible exchange of Macau and Portuguese Guinea
Portuguese Guinea
Portuguese Guinea was the name for what is today Guinea-Bissau from 1446 to September 10, 1974.-History:...

 with the French Congo
French Congo
The French Congo was a French colony which at one time comprised the present-day area of the Republic of the Congo, Gabon, and the Central African Republic...

) or with other countries would not go forward – so that the British commercial interests would be secured; Macau officially became a territory under Portuguese administration.

In 1928, after the Qing Dynasty had been overthrown following the Xinhai Revolution
Xinhai Revolution
The Xinhai Revolution or Hsinhai Revolution, also known as Revolution of 1911 or the Chinese Revolution, was a revolution that overthrew China's last imperial dynasty, the Qing , and established the Republic of China...

, the Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 (KMT) government officially notified Portugal that it was abrogating the Treaty of Amity and Commerce; the two powers signed a new Sino-Portuguese Friendship and Trade Treaty in place of the abrogated treaty. Making only a few provisions concerning tariff principles and matters relating to business affairs, the new treaty did not alter the sovereignty of Macau and Portuguese government of Macau remained unchanged.

In the Second World War, unlike in the case of Portuguese Timor
Portuguese Timor
Portuguese Timor was the name of East Timor when it was under Portuguese control. During this period, Portugal shared the island of Timor with the Netherlands East Indies, and later with Indonesia....

 which was occupied by the Japanese in 1942 along with Dutch Timor, the Japanese respected Portuguese neutrality in Macau, but only up to a point. As such, Macau enjoyed a brief period of economic prosperity as the only neutral port in South China, after the Japanese had occupied Guangzhou (Canton) and Hong Kong. In August 1943, Japanese troops seized the British steamer Sian in Macao and killed about 20 guards. The next month they demanded the installation of Japanese "advisors" under the alternative of military occupation. The result was that a virtual Japanese protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

 was created over Macau. Japanese domination ended in August 1945.

After the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the Beijing government declared the Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Amity and Commerce invalid as an “unequal treaty” imposed by foreigners on China. However, Beijing was not ready to settle the treaty question, leaving the maintenance of “the status quo” until a more appropriate time.

Influenced by the Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

 in mainland China and by general dissatisfaction with Portuguese government, riots broke out in Macau in 1966. In the most serious, the so-called 12-3 incident
12-3 incident
The 12-3 incident refers to a riot in Macau that happened on December 3, 1966, inspired by the Cultural Revolution in the People's Republic of China.-Tension:...

, 6 people were killed and more than 200 people were injured. On 28 January 1967, the Portuguese government issued a formal apology.

Shortly after the overthrow of the Portuguese dictatorship in 1974
Carnation Revolution
The Carnation Revolution , also referred to as the 25 de Abril , was a military coup started on 25 April 1974, in Lisbon, Portugal, coupled with an unanticipated and extensive campaign of civil resistance...

 in Lisbon, the new Portuguese government determined it would relinquish all its overseas possessions. In 1976, Lisbon redefined Macau as a "Chinese territory under Portuguese administration" and granted it a large measure of administrative, financial, and economic autonomy. Three years later, Portugal and China agreed to regard Macau as "a Chinese territory under (temporary) Portuguese administration". The Chinese and Portuguese governments commenced negotiations on the question of Macau in June 1986. The two signed a Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration the next year, making Macau a special administrative region (SAR) of China. The Chinese government assumed formal sovereignty over Macau on 20 December 1999. The economy since then has continued to prosper with the sustained growth of tourism from mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

 and the construction of new casino
Casino
In modern English, a casino is a facility which houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities. Casinos are most commonly built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships or other tourist attractions...

s.

Government and politics



The Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, Macau's constitution promulgated by China's National People's Congress
National People's Congress
The National People's Congress , abbreviated NPC , is the highest state body and the only legislative house in the People's Republic of China. The National People's Congress is held in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, capital of the People's Republic of China; with 2,987 members, it is the...

 in 1993, specify that Macau's social and economic system, lifestyle, rights, and freedoms are to remain unchanged for at least 50 years after the transfer of sovereignty to China in 1999. Under the principle of "one country, two systems", Macau enjoys a high degree of autonomy in all areas except in defence
Defense (military)
Defense has several uses in the sphere of military application.Personal defense implies measures taken by individual soldiers in protecting themselves whether by use of protective materials such as armor, or field construction of trenches or a bunker, or by using weapons that prevent the enemy...

 and foreign affairs
Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs is an American magazine and website on international relations and U.S. foreign policy published since 1922 by the Council on Foreign Relations six times annually...

. Macau officials, rather than PRC officials, run Macau through the exercise of separate executive, legislative, and judicial powers, as well as the right to final adjudication. Macau maintains its own separate currency
Macanese pataca
The pataca is the currency of Macau. It is subdivided into 100 avos , with 10 avos called ho in Cantonese. The abbreviation MOP$ is commonly used....

, customs territory, immigration and border controls, and police force.

Executive


The government in Macau is headed by the chief executive
Chief Executive of Macau
The Chief Executive of Macau is the head of the government of Macau, a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China and a former Portuguese overseas province.Under the Basic Law of Macau, the CE's role is:...

, who is appointed by the central government upon the recommendation of an election committee, whose three hundred members are nominated by corporate and community bodies. The recommendation is made by an election within the committee. The chief executive's cabinet is made up of five policy secretaries and is advised by the Executive Council that has between seven and eleven members. Edmund Ho Hau Wah, a community leader and former banker, was the first chief executive of the Macau SAR, replacing General Vasco Rocha Vieira
Vasco Joaquim Rocha Vieira
Vasco Joaquim Rocha Vieira was the last Governor of Macau.-Background:He is the son of João da Silva Vieira Vasco Joaquim Rocha Vieira (b. Lagoa, 16 August 1939) was the last Governor of Macau.-Background:He is the son of João da Silva Vieira Vasco Joaquim Rocha Vieira (b. Lagoa, 16 August 1939)...

 at midnight on 20 December 1999. Fernando Chui Sai On
Fernando Chui Sai On
Fernando Chui Sai On is the current Chief Executive of Macau, he was the Secretary for Social and Cultural Affairs from 1999 to 2009....

 is the current Chief Executive. The chief executive and the cabinet have their offices in the Macau Government Headquarters
Macau Government Headquarters
Macau Government Headquarters is the official office of the Chief Executive of Macau and has been since 1999.-History:Built in 1849 by Tomás de Aquino, Baron do Cercal, the two story pink facade structure is one of the historic properties preserving Portuguese influence in Macau and located on...

, located in the former area of the St. Lawrence Parish
St. Lawrence Parish
St. Lawrence Parish is a southwestern freguesia of the Macau Peninsula....

.

Legislature



The legislative organ of the territory is the Legislative Assembly, a 29-member body comprising 12 directly elected members, ten indirectly elected members representing functional constituencies and seven members appointed by the chief executive. Any permanent residents at or over 18 years of age are eligible to vote in direct elections. Indirect election is limited to organizations registered as "corporate voters" and a 300-member election committee drawn from broad regional groupings, municipal organizations, and central government bodies.

Judiciary


The original framework of the legal system, based largely on Portuguese law or Portuguese civil law system, was preserved after 1999. The territory has its own independent judicial system with a high court
High Court
The term High Court usually refers to the superior court of a country or state. In some countries, it is the highest court . In others, it is positioned lower in the hierarchy of courts The term High Court usually refers to the superior court (or supreme court) of a country or state. In some...

. Judges are selected by a committee and appointed by the chief executive. Foreign judges may serve on the courts.

Macau has a three-tier court system: the Court of the First Instance, the Court of the Second Instance and the Court of Final Appeal
Court of Final Appeal (Macau)
The Court of Final Appeal is the court with the final adjudication power on laws of Macau Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China...

. In February 2009, the Legislative Assembly passed a security bill based on the withdrawn security legislation
Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23
Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23 is the basis of a security law proposed by the Government of Hong Kong. It states:On 24 September 2002 the government released its proposals for the anti-subversion law. It is the cause of considerable controversy and division in Hong Kong, which operates as a...

 previously introduced in Hong Kong. Democracy advocates feared that the bill's excessively broad scope could lead to abuses, a concern which has been heightened after a number of prominent supporters of democracy in Hong Kong were denied entry
Hong Kong Macau cultural exchange
Hong Kong Macau cultural exchange was a trip that took place on the Sunday morning of March 15, 2009. The goal was to have Pan-democracy camp members test the newly enacted Macau national security law by going from Hong Kong to Macau to see who gets banned....

 into Macau in the run-up to the bill's passage.

Military


Under Portuguese rule, the military presence in Macau was very limited and ceased in 1974. In 1999, upon handover to the PRC, a substantial garrison of the People's Liberation Army was established in the city itself, with a large portion of the forces stationed in neighbouring Zhuhai
Zhuhai
Zhuhai is a prefecture-level city on the southern coast of Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in the Pearl River Delta, Zhuhai borders Jiangmen to the northwest, Zhongshan to the north, and Macau to the south. Zhuhai was one of the original Special Economic Zones...

 as well.

Geography





Macau is situated 60 kilometres (37 mi) southwest of Hong Kong and 145 kilometres (90 mi) from Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

. It also has 41 kilometres (25 mi) of coastline, yet only 0.31 kilometre (0.19262554836144 mi) of land border with Guangdong
Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

. It consists of the Macau Peninsula
Macau Peninsula
Macau Peninsula is the oldest and most populous part of Macau. It has an area of 8.5 km² and is geographically connected to Guandong province, at the northeast, through an isthmus 200-metre wide. The peninsula, together with the city centre of Zhuhai, sits on an island separated from the...

 itself and the islands of Taipa
Taipa
Taipa is the smaller of the two islands in the Chinese special administrative region of Macao .- Geography :It is 2.5 kilometres from Macau Peninsula and east of the Lesser Hengqin Island of Zhuhai, Guangdong Province...

 and Coloane
Coloane
Coloane is one of the two main islands of the Macau Special Administrative Region, located directly south of Macau's other main island, Taipa , and east of Hengqin Island of Zhuhai in Guangdong province....

, which are now connected by landfill forming the Cotai Strip
Cotai Strip
The Cotai Strip is the casino and tourism project in the Cotai District, Macau, inspired by the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, USA, on a considerably smaller scale....

. The peninsula is formed by the Zhu Jiang (Pearl River) estuary
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

 on the east and the Xi Jiang (West River) on the west. It borders the Zhuhai
Zhuhai
Zhuhai is a prefecture-level city on the southern coast of Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in the Pearl River Delta, Zhuhai borders Jiangmen to the northwest, Zhongshan to the north, and Macau to the south. Zhuhai was one of the original Special Economic Zones...

 Special Economic Zone
Special Economic Zone
A Special Economic Zone is a geographical region that has economic and other laws that are more free-market-oriented than a country's typical or national laws...

 in mainland China. The main border crossing between Macau and China is known as the Portas do Cerco
Portas do Cerco
Portas do Cerco is an area on the Macau Peninsula , in the former Portuguese colony of Macau, now a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, near the border checkpoint with the rest of the People's Republic of China at Gongbei, Zhuhai, Guangdong Province...

 (Barrier Gate) on the Macau side, and the Gongbei Port of Entry on the Zhuhai
Zhuhai
Zhuhai is a prefecture-level city on the southern coast of Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in the Pearl River Delta, Zhuhai borders Jiangmen to the northwest, Zhongshan to the north, and Macau to the south. Zhuhai was one of the original Special Economic Zones...

 side.

Macau Peninsula was originally an island, but a connecting sandbar gradually turned into a narrow isthmus
Isthmus
An isthmus is a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas usually with waterforms on either side.Canals are often built through isthmuses where they may be particularly advantageous to create a shortcut for marine transportation...

, thus changing Macau into a peninsula. Land reclamation in the 17th century transformed Macau into a peninsula with generally flat terrain, though numerous steep hills still mark the original land mass. Alto de Coloane is the highest point in Macau, with an altitude of 170.6 metres (559.7 ft). With a dense urban environment, Macau has no arable land, pastures, forest, or woodland.

Climate


Macau has a humid subtropical climate
Humid subtropical climate
A humid subtropical climate is a climate zone characterized by hot, humid summers and mild to cool winters...

 (Köppen
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 Cwa), with average relative humidity between 75% and 90%. Similar to much of South China, seasonal climate is greatly influenced by the monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

s, and differences in temperature and humidity between summer and winter are noticeable, though not as great as inland China. The average annual temperature of Macau is 22.7 °C (72.9 °F). July is the warmest month, with average temperature being 28.9 °C (84 °F). The coolest month is January, with a mean temperature of 15 °C (59 °F).

Located on China's southern coast, Macau has ample rainfall, with average annual precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

 being 2120 millimetres (83 in). However, winter is mostly dry due to the influence of the vast Siberian High
Siberian High
The Siberian High is a massive collection of cold or very cold dry air that accumulates on the Eurasian terrain for much of the year. It reaches its greatest size and strength in the winter, when the air temperature near the center of the high-pressure cell or anticyclone is often lower than...

 affecting much of East Asia. Autumn in Macau, from October to November, is sunny and still pleasantly warm with low humidity. Winter (December to early March) is generally mild with temperature above 10°C most of the time, although it could also drop to below 5°C at times. Humidity starts to increase from late March. Summer is very warm to hot (often rising above 30 °C (86 °F) at daytime). The hot weather is often followed by heavy rain, thunderstorms and occasional typhoons.

Economy



Employed population by
occupation 2007
Occupation no.
('000)
Senior officials/managers 14.6
Professionals 9.9
Technicians 28.1
Clerks 83.7
Service & sale workers 63.2
Workers in agriculture/fishery 0.8
Craft & similar workers 33.7





Macau's economy is based largely on tourism. Other chief economic activities in Macau are export-geared textile and garment manufacturing, banking and other financial services. The clothing industry has provided about three quarters of export earnings, and the gaming, tourism and hospitality industry is estimated to contribute more than 50% of Macau's GDP, and 70% of Macau government revenue.

Macau is a founding member of the WTO and has maintained sound economic and trade relations with more than 120 countries and regions, with European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 and Portuguese-speaking countries in particular; Macau is also a member of the IMF. The World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 classifies Macau as a high income economy and the GDP per capita of the region in 2006 was US$28,436. After the Handover in 1999, there has been a rapid rise in the number of mainland visitors due to China's easing of travel restrictions. Together with the liberalization of Macau's gaming industry in 2001 that induces significant investment inflows, the average growth rate
Economic growth
In economics, economic growth is defined as the increasing capacity of the economy to satisfy the wants of goods and services of the members of society. Economic growth is enabled by increases in productivity, which lowers the inputs for a given amount of output. Lowered costs increase demand...

 of the economy between 2001 and 2006 was approximately 13.1% annually.

In a World Tourism Organization
World Tourism Organization
The World Tourism Organization , based in Madrid, Spain, is a United Nations agency dealing with questions relating to tourism. It compiles the World Tourism rankings. The World Tourism Organization is a significant global body, concerned with the collection and collation of statistical information...

 report of international tourism for 2006, Macau ranked 21st in the number of tourists and 24th in terms of tourism receipts. From 9.1 million visitors in 2000, arrivals to Macau has grown to 18.7 million visitors in 2005 and 22 million visitors in 2006, with over 50% of the arrivals coming from mainland China and another 30% from Hong Kong. Macau is expected to receive between 24 and 25 million visitors in 2007.

Starting in 1962, the gambling industry had been operated under a government-issued monopoly license by Stanley Ho
Stanley Ho
Stanley Ho, GBM, GLM, GBS, GML, OBE , also known as Ho Hung Sun, Stanley Ho Hung Sun, is an entrepreneur in Hong Kong and Macau. Ho is sometimes nicknamed "The King of Gambling", reflecting the government-granted monopoly he held of the Macau gambling industry for 40 years...

's Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau
Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau
The Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau, SA is a company in Macau owned by Stanley Ho and his family. Historically it held a monopoly to Macau's gambling industry as the only licensee for casinos. In 2002, the Macau government began issuing more licenses and the monopoly was broken...

. The monopoly ended in 2002 and several casino owners from Las Vegas
Las Vegas metropolitan area
The Las Vegas Valley is the heart of the Las Vegas-Paradise, NV MSA also known as the Las Vegas–Paradise–Henderson MSA which includes all of Clark County, Nevada, and is a metropolitan area in the southern part of the U.S. state of Nevada. The Valley is defined by the Las Vegas Valley landform, a ...

 attempted to enter the market. With the opening of the Sands Macao, in 2004 and Wynn Macau
Wynn Macau
Wynn Macau , owned by Wynn Resorts, is a luxury integrated resort in Macau Peninsula, Macau, People's Republic of China, offering gaming combined with a deluxe hotel, restaurants, designer shops, spa, and a "Performance Lake". It is the first Las Vegas-style integrated resort in Asia. It opened on...

 in 2006, gambling revenues from Macau's casinos were greatly prosperous. In 2007, Venetian Macau, at the time the second (now sixth) largest building in the world by floor space, opened its doors to the public, followed by MGM Grand Macau
MGM Grand Macau
MGM Macau is a 35-story, 600-room casino resort in Macau which officially opened on 18 December 2007. Under a sub concession approved by the Macau government, the project is owned and operated as a 50-50 joint venture between MGM Resorts International and Pansy Ho Chiu-king, daughter of Macau...

. Numerous other hotel casinos, including Galaxy Cotai Megaresort, are also to be opened in the near future.

In 2002, the Macau government ended the monopoly system and six casino operating concessions and subconcessions are granted to Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau
Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau
The Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau, SA is a company in Macau owned by Stanley Ho and his family. Historically it held a monopoly to Macau's gambling industry as the only licensee for casinos. In 2002, the Macau government began issuing more licenses and the monopoly was broken...

, Wynn Resorts
Wynn Resorts
Wynn Resorts Limited is a publicly traded corporation based in Paradise, Nevada that is a developer and operator of high end hotels and casinos. It was formed on October 25, 2002 by former Mirage Resorts Chairman and CEO Stephen A...

, Las Vegas Sands
Las Vegas Sands
Las Vegas Sands Corp. is an integrated resort company based in Paradise, Nevada, USA.-History:Founded in 1988, the company was the owner and operator of the Sands Hotel, which was demolished in 1996 to make room for The Venetian, which opened in 1999....

, Galaxy Entertainment Group, the partnership of MGM Mirage
MGM Mirage
Not to be confused with the Las Vegas, Nevada based casino/resort operator Resorts International Holdings.MGM Resorts International is a Paradise, Nevada based corporation that brands itself as a global hospitality company. It is the second largest gaming company in the world by revenue - about...

 and Pansy Ho (daughter of Stanley Ho
Stanley Ho
Stanley Ho, GBM, GLM, GBS, GML, OBE , also known as Ho Hung Sun, Stanley Ho Hung Sun, is an entrepreneur in Hong Kong and Macau. Ho is sometimes nicknamed "The King of Gambling", reflecting the government-granted monopoly he held of the Macau gambling industry for 40 years...

), and the partnership of Melco and Publishing and Broadcasting Limited
Publishing and Broadcasting Limited
Publishing and Broadcasting Limited was one of Australia's largest companies, with interests primarily in media and gaming. The company demerged in late 2007, spinning out its gaming interests into Crown Limited...

 (PBL). Today, there are 16 casinos operated by the STDM, and they are still crucial in the casino industry in Macau, but in 2004, the opening of the Sands Macau
Sands Macau
Sands Macao is a casino resort located in Macau Peninsula, Macau. It is owned and operated by the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, and was designed by Steelman Partners, LLP...

 ushered in the new era. Gambling revenue has made Macau the world's top casino market, surpassing Las Vegas.

Macau is an offshore financial centre
Offshore financial centre
An offshore financial centre , though not precisely defined, is usually a small, low-tax jurisdiction specializing in providing corporate and commercial services to non-resident offshore companies, and for the investment of offshore funds....

, a tax haven
Tax haven
A tax haven is a state or a country or territory where certain taxes are levied at a low rate or not at all while offering due process, good governance and a low corruption rate....

, and a free port
Free port
A free port or free zone , sometimes also called a bonded area is a port, port area or other area with relaxed jurisdiction with respect to the country of location...

 with no foreign exchange control regimes. The Monetary Authority of Macau regulates offshore finance, while the Macau Trade and Investment Promotion Institute provides services for investment in Macau. In 2007, Moody's Investors Service upgraded Macau's foreign and local currency government issuer ratings to 'Aa3' from 'A1', citing its government's solid finances as a large net creditor. The rating agency also upgraded Macau's foreign currency bank deposit ceiling to 'Aa3' from 'A1'.

As prescribed by the Macau Basic Law
Macau Basic Law
The Basic Law of the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China is the constitution of Macau, replacing the Estatuto Orgânico de Macau, which was effective since 1976, on 20 December 1999....

, the government
Government of Macau
The Government of the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China , are headed by secretariats or commissioners and report directly to the Chief Executive of Macau. The affairs of the Government are decided by secretaries, who are appointed by the Chief Executive and...

 follows the principle of keeping expenditure within the limits of revenues in drawing up its budget, and strives to achieve a fiscal balance
Fiscal adjustment
A fiscal adjustment is a reduction in the government primary budget deficit, and it can result from a reduction in government expenditures, an increase in tax revenues, or both simultaneously....

, avoid deficits and keep the budget commensurate with the growth rate of its gross domestic product. All the financial revenues of the Macau Special Administrative Region shall be managed and controlled by the Region itself and shall not be handed over to the Central People's Government
Government of the People's Republic of China
All power within the government of the People's Republic of China is divided among three bodies: the People's Republic of China, State Council, and the People's Liberation Army . This article is concerned with the formal structure of the state, its departments and their responsibilities...

. The Central People's Government shall not levy any taxes in the Macau Special Administrative Region.

Monetary system


In Macau, the unit of currency is the pataca
Macanese pataca
The pataca is the currency of Macau. It is subdivided into 100 avos , with 10 avos called ho in Cantonese. The abbreviation MOP$ is commonly used....

 which is currently pegged to the Hong Kong dollar
Hong Kong dollar
The Hong Kong dollar is the currency of the jurisdiction. It is the eighth most traded currency in the world. In English, it is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively HK$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

 at a rate of HK$1 = MOP1.03. The name pataca is a Portuguese word which was applied to the Mexican dollars that were the main circulating coin in the wider region in the second half of the 19th century. In the year 1894, the pataca was introduced in both Macau and Portuguese Timor
Portuguese Timor
Portuguese Timor was the name of East Timor when it was under Portuguese control. During this period, Portugal shared the island of Timor with the Netherlands East Indies, and later with Indonesia....

 as a unit of account for the Mexican dollar and the other silver dollar coins in circulation. In 1901 it was decided to grant the Banco Nacional Ultramarino
Banco Nacional Ultramarino
Banco Nacional Ultramarino was a Portuguese bank with operations throughout the world, especially in Portugal's former overseas provinces. It ceased existence as an independent legal entity in Portugal following its merger with Caixa Geral de Depósitos, the government-owned savings bank, in...

 the exclusive rights to issue banknotes denominated in patacas, and in the year 1906, these notes went into circulation at an official equivalent rate of 2 shillings and 4 pence sterling
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

, and all foreign coins were outlawed. However, the Chinese were suspicious of these paper patacas, being so accustomed to using silver for barter, and as such, the paper patacas circulated at a discount in relation to the silver dollar coins. In the year 1935, when China and Hong Kong abandoned the silver standard, the Hong Kong dollar was pegged to sterling at the fixed rate of 1 shilling and 3 pence, whereas the pataca was pegged to the Portuguese escudo at a sterling equivalent rate of only 1 shilling. From 1945 to 1951 fractional coins of the pataca were minted for issue in Portuguese Timor
Portuguese Timor
Portuguese Timor was the name of East Timor when it was under Portuguese control. During this period, Portugal shared the island of Timor with the Netherlands East Indies, and later with Indonesia....

, and in 1952 similar issues were minted for Macau including an actual pataca coin for the first time.

Demographics



Residents' usual
language spoken at home
Language Percentage of
population
Cantonese
Standard Cantonese
Cantonese, or Standard Cantonese, is a language that originated in the vicinity of Canton in southern China, and is often regarded as the prestige dialect of Yue Chinese....

85.7%
Other
forms of Chinese
6.7%
Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

0.6%
Mandarin 3.2%
English 1.5%
Others 2.3%



Macau is the most densely populated region in the world, with a population density of 18,428 persons per square kilometre (47,728/sq mi). 95% of Macau's population is Chinese; another 2% is of Portuguese and/or mixed Chinese/Portuguese descent, an ethnic group often referred to as Macanese
Macanese people
The Macanese-born Portuguese people or simply the Macanese people refer to an ethnic group which originated in Macau since the 16th century, consisting mostly of people with some Portuguese ancestry.-Culture:...

. According to the 2006 by-census, 47% of the residents were born in mainland China, of whom 74.1% born in Guangdong
Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

 and 15.2% in Fujian
Fujian
' , formerly romanised as Fukien or Huguing or Foukien, is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. Fujian is bordered by Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait...

. Meanwhile, 42.5% of the residents were born in Macau, and those born in Hong Kong, the Philippines and Portugal shared 3.7%, 2.0% and 0.3% respectively.

The growth of population in Macau mainly relies on immigrants from mainland China and the influx of overseas workers since its birth rate is one of the lowest in the world. According to a recent survey conducted by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 (CIA), Macau is the top country/region for life expectancy at birth with an average of 84.36 years, while its infant mortality rate ranks among the lowest in the world.

Both Chinese (Cantonese) and Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 are Macau's official languages. Other languages such as Mandarin, English and Hokkien
Min Nan
The Southern Min languages, or Min Nan , are a family of Chinese languages spoken in southern Fujian, eastern Guangdong, Hainan, Taiwan, and southern Zhejiang provinces of China, and by descendants of emigrants from these areas in diaspora....

 are also spoken by some local communities. The Macanese language
Macanese language
Macanese or Macau Creole is a creole language derived mainly from Malay, Sinhalese, Cantonese, and Portuguese, which was originally spoken by the Macanese community of the Portuguese colony of Macau...

, a distinctive creole
Creole language
A creole language, or simply a creole, is a stable natural language developed from the mixing of parent languages; creoles differ from pidgins in that they have been nativized by children as their primary language, making them have features of natural languages that are normally missing from...

 generally known as Patuá, is still spoken by several dozen Macanese.

Most Chinese in Macau are profoundly influenced by their own tradition and culture, of which most take part in Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion or Shenism , which is a term of considerable debate, are labels used to describe the collection of ethnic religious traditions which have been a main belief system in China and among Han Chinese ethnic groups for most of the civilization's history until today...

, of which the faiths of Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

, form an integral part. Macau has a sizable Christian community; Roman Catholics and Protestants constitute 7% and 2% of the population respectively. In addition, 17% of the population follow original Mahayana Buddhism.

Since Macau has an economy driven by tourism, 14.6% of the workforce is employed in restaurants and hotels, and 10.3% in the gambling industry. With the opening of several casino resorts and other major constructions underway, many sectors reportedly experience a shortage of labor, and the government seeks to import labor from neighboring regions.

The number of imported workers stood at a record high of 98,505 in the second quarter of 2008, representing more than 25% of the labor force in Macau. Some local workers complain about the lack of jobs due to the influx of cheap imported labor. Some also claim that the problem of illegal labor is severe. Another concern is the widening of income inequality in the region. Macau's Gini coefficient
Gini coefficient
The Gini coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion developed by the Italian statistician and sociologist Corrado Gini and published in his 1912 paper "Variability and Mutability" ....

, a popular measure of income inequality where a low value indicates a more equal income distribution, rose from 0.43 in 1998 to 0.48 in 2006. It is higher than those of neighboring regions, such as mainland China (0.447), South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 (0.316) and Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 (0.425).

Education



A fifteen-year free education is currently being offered to residents, that includes a three-year kindergarten, followed by a six-year primary education and a six-year secondary education. The literacy rate of the territory is 93.5%. The illiterates are mainly among the senior residents aged 65 or above; the younger generation, for example the population aged 15–29, has a literacy rate of above 99%. Currently, there is only one school in Macau where Portuguese is the medium of instruction.

Macau does not have its own universal education system; non-tertiary schools follow either the British, the Chinese, or the Portuguese education system. There are currently 10 tertiary educational institutions in the region, four of them being public. In 2006, the Programme for International Student Assessment
Programme for International Student Assessment
The Programme for International Student Assessment is a worldwide evaluation in OECD member countries of 15-year-old school pupils' scholastic performance, performed first in 2000 and repeated every three years...

, a worldwide test of 15-year-old schoolchildren's scholastic performance coordinated by OECD, ranked Macau as the fifth and sixth in science and problem solving respectively. Nevertheless, education levels in Macau are low among high income regions. According to the 2006 by-census, among the resident population aged 14 and above, only 51.8% has a secondary education and 12.6% has a tertiary education.

As prescribed by the Basic Law of Macau
Macau Basic Law
The Basic Law of the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China is the constitution of Macau, replacing the Estatuto Orgânico de Macau, which was effective since 1976, on 20 December 1999....

 Chapter VI Article 121, the Government of Macau
Government of Macau
The Government of the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China , are headed by secretariats or commissioners and report directly to the Chief Executive of Macau. The affairs of the Government are decided by secretaries, who are appointed by the Chief Executive and...

 shall, on its own, formulate policies on education, including policies regarding the educational system and its administration, the language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

 of instruction, the allocation of funds, the examination system, the recognition of educational qualifications and the system of academic awards so as to promote educational development. The government shall also in accordance with law, gradually institute a compulsory education
Compulsory education
Compulsory education refers to a period of education that is required of all persons.-Antiquity to Medieval Era:Although Plato's The Republic is credited with having popularized the concept of compulsory education in Western intellectual thought, every parent in Judea since Moses's Covenant with...

 system. Community organisations and individuals may, in accordance with law, run educational undertakings of various kinds.

Healthcare


Macau is served by one major public hospital, the Hospital Conde S. Januário
Hospital Conde S. Januário
Hospital Conde S. Januário is an acute care hospital in Macau, run by the public sector. Established in 1874 and extended in 1989, it has 476 beds and offers 22 different services, both for inpatients and for outpatients. The hospital is colloquially known as 'Hill-top Hospital 山頂醫院' by the...

, and one major private hospital, the Hospital Kiang Wu
Hospital Kiang Wu
Hospital Kiang Wu , a privately owned hospital located in Macau Peninsula, is one of three hospitals in Macau. Founded in 1871, the hospital is run by the Kiang Wu Charitable Association and offered Chinese medicial services. Renowned doctor Sun Yat-Sen brought Western medicine services to the...

, both located in Macau Peninsula, as well as a university hospital called Macau University of Science and Technology Hospital
Macau University of Science and Technology Hospital
Macau University of Science and Technology Hospital, commonly known as MUST Hospital , is one of three hospitals in Macau. The hospital is located in the Cotai area of Macau...

 in Cotai
Cotai
Cotai is a 5.2 km2 piece of newly reclaimed land between Taipa and Coloane islands in Macau, that has not yet been assigned to any of the freguesias. The Chinese and Portuguese names are a portmanteau of the two islands, Coloane and Taipa....

. In addition to hospitals, Macau also has numerous health centres providing free basic medical care to residents. Consultation in traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage , exercise , and dietary therapy...

 is also available.

Currently none of the Macau hospitals are independently assessed through international healthcare accreditation
International healthcare accreditation
Due to the near-universal desire for quality healthcare, there is a growing interest in international healthcare accreditation. Providing healthcare, especially of an adequate standard, is a complex and challenging process...

. There are no western-style medical schools in Macau and thus all aspiring physicians in Macau have to obtain their education and qualification elsewhere. Local nurses are trained at the Macau Polytechnic Institute and the Kiang Wu Nursing
Nursing
Nursing is a healthcare profession focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life from conception to death....

 College. Currently there are no training courses in midwifery
Midwifery
Midwifery is a health care profession in which providers offer care to childbearing women during pregnancy, labour and birth, and during the postpartum period. They also help care for the newborn and assist the mother with breastfeeding....

 in Macau.

The Health Bureau in Macau is mainly responsible for coordinating the activities between the public and private organisations in the area of public health
Public health
Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" . It is concerned with threats to health based on population health...

, and assure the health of citizens through specialised and primary health care
Primary health care
Primary health care, often abbreviated as “PHC”, has been defined as "essential health care based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community through their full participation and at a cost...

 services, as well as disease prevention and health promotion
Health promotion
Health promotion has been defined by the World Health Organization's 2005 Bangkok Charter for Health Promotion in a Globalized World as "the process of enabling people to increase control over their health and its determinants, and thereby improve their health"...

. The Macau Centre for Disease Control and Prevention
Macau Centre for Disease Control and Prevention
The Macau Centre for Disease Control and Prevention was created in 2001 and is under the Health Bureau of Secretariat for Social Affairs and Culture .- See also :* Similar Agencies** Centre for Health Protection, Hong Kong...

 was established in 2001, which monitors the operation of hospitals, health centres, and the blood transfusion
Blood transfusion
Blood transfusion is the process of receiving blood products into one's circulation intravenously. Transfusions are used in a variety of medical conditions to replace lost components of the blood...

 centre in Macau. It also handles the organisation of care and prevention of diseases affecting the population, sets guidelines for hospitals and private health care providers, and issues licences
Medical license
In most countries, only persons with a medical license bestowed either by a specified government-approved professional association or a government agency are authorized to practice medicine. Licenses are not granted automatically to all people with medical degrees...

.

Transport


In Macau traffic drives on the left, unlike either mainland China or Portugal. Macau has a well-established public transport network connecting the Macau Peninsula
Macau Peninsula
Macau Peninsula is the oldest and most populous part of Macau. It has an area of 8.5 km² and is geographically connected to Guandong province, at the northeast, through an isthmus 200-metre wide. The peninsula, together with the city centre of Zhuhai, sits on an island separated from the...

, Cotai
Cotai
Cotai is a 5.2 km2 piece of newly reclaimed land between Taipa and Coloane islands in Macau, that has not yet been assigned to any of the freguesias. The Chinese and Portuguese names are a portmanteau of the two islands, Coloane and Taipa....

, Taipa Island and Coloane Island. Buses and taxis are the major modes of public transport in Macau. Currently two companies, namely Transmac
Transmac
Transportes Urbanos de Macau S.A.R.L. , operates public transit buses in Macau SAR.In Mainland China, Transmac was known as Xinfuli, and it is operating in Xinhui and Wuhu now...

 and Transportas Companhia de Macau
Transportas Companhia de Macau
Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos de Macau is one of the bus operators in Macau .The company began as ferry operator in the 1950s, but did not enter bus operations until 1974 when a bridge connecting the mainland with Cotai and Taipa was finished.In late 2009, TCM was disqualified from a tender...

, operate franchised public bus services in Macau. The trishaw, a hybrid of the tricycle and the rickshaw, is also available, though it is mainly for sightseeing purposes. A new public bus operator, Reolian Public Transport Co.
Reolian Public Transport Co.
- Reolian :Reolian Public Transport Co. is the newly established public bus service company in Macau under DSAT contract. Reolian is also the new bus operator that operates several bus routes in Macau, it started its services in 1 August 2011...

, entered service on August 1, 2011. This new bus operator operates on the existing routes by Transmac and Transportas Companhia de Macau.

The Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal provides cross-border transportation services for passengers travelling between Macau and Hong Kong, while the Yuet Tung Terminal in the Inner Harbour serves those travelling between Macau and cities in mainland China, including Shekou
Shekou
Shekou is an area at the tip of Nantou Peninsula in Shenzhen, Guangdong, southern China, south of Nantou and facing Lau Fau Shan of Hong Kong across Deep Bay.It was formerly a customs station in Bao'an County and now belongs to Nanshan District of Shenzhen...

 and Shenzhen
Shenzhen
Shenzhen is a major city in the south of Southern China's Guangdong Province, situated immediately north of Hong Kong. The area became China's first—and one of the most successful—Special Economic Zones...

.

Macau has one active international airport, known as Macau International Airport
Macau International Airport
- Cargo airlines :The following cargo airlines serve Macau International Airport :*Air Macau*EVA Air Cargo*Shanghai Airlines Cargo*Singapore Airlines Cargo- Other Tenants :* Macau Customs Service...

 located at the eastern end of Taipa and neighbouring waters. The airport used to serve as one of the main transit hubs for passengers travelling between mainland China and Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

, but now with the introduction of direct flights between those two regions, passenger traffic in this regard has lessened. It is the primary hub for Air Macau
Air Macau
Air Macau Company Limited is the flag carrier airline of and headquartered in Macau. The airline operates services to 12 destinations in Mainland China, as well as regional international services, from its hub at Macau International Airport.-History:...

. In 2006, the airport handled about 5 million passengers.

Culture




The mixing of the Chinese
Culture of China
Chinese culture is one of the world's oldest and most complex. The area in which the culture is dominant covers a large geographical region in eastern Asia with customs and traditions varying greatly between towns, cities and provinces...

 and Portuguese cultures
Culture of Portugal
The culture of Portugal is the result of a complex flow of different civilizations during the past Millennia. From prehistoric cultures, to its Pre-Roman civilizations , passing through its contacts with the Phoenician-Carthaginian world, the Roman period , the...

 and religious traditions for more than four centuries has left Macau with an inimitable collection of holidays, festivals and events. The biggest event of the year is the Macau Grand Prix
Macau Grand Prix
The Macau Grand Prix is a motor-racing event held annually in Macau, one of China's Special Administrative Regions. It is known for being the only street circuit racing event in which both car and motorcycle races are held...

 in November, when the main streets in Macau Peninsula are converted to a racetrack bearing similarities with the Monaco Grand Prix
Monaco Grand Prix
The Monaco Grand Prix is a Formula One race held each year on the Circuit de Monaco. Run since 1929, it is widely considered to be one of the most important and prestigious automobile races in the world, alongside the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans...

. Other annual events include Macau Arts festival in March, the International Fireworks Display Contest in September, the International Music festival in October and/or November, and the Macau International Marathon in December.

The Lunar Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year – often called Chinese Lunar New Year although it actually is lunisolar – is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is an all East and South-East-Asia celebration...

 is the most important traditional festival and celebration normally takes place in late January or early February. The Pou Tai Un Temple in Taipa is the place for the Feast of Tou Tei, the Earth god, in February. The Procession of the Passion of Our Lord is a well-known Catholic rite and journey, which travels from Igreja de Santo Agostinho to Igreja da Sé Catedral, also taking place in February.

A-Ma Temple, which honours the Goddess Matsu, is in full swing in April with many worshippers celebrating the A-Ma festival. In May it is common to see dancing dragons at the Feast of the Drunken Dragon and twinkling-clean Buddhas at the Feast of the Bathing of Lord Buddha. In Coloane Village
Coloane Village
Coloane Village stands as a living testament to Macau's dual Portuguese and Cantonese heritage. The quality of air in Coloane is relatively fresher than that of Macau Peninsula because of fewer local residents and urban development...

, the Taoist god Tam Kong is also honoured on the same day. Dragon Boat festival
Dragon Boat Festival
Duanwu Festival, also known as Dragon Boat Festival and the Double Fifth, is a traditional and statutory holiday originating in China and associated with a number of East Asian and Southeast Asian societies...

 is brought into play on Nam Van Lake in June and Hungry Ghosts' festival, in late August and/or early September every year. All events and festivities of the year end with Winter Solstice in December.

Local cooking in Macau consists of a blend of Cantonese
Cantonese cuisine
Cantonese cuisine comes from Guangdong Province in southern China and is one of 8 superdivisions of Chinese cuisine. Its prominence outside China is due to the great numbers of early emigrants from Guangdong. Cantonese chefs are highly sought after throughout the country...

 and Portuguese
Portuguese cuisine
Portuguese cuisine is characterised by rich, filling and full-flavored dishes and is closely related to Mediterranean cuisine. The influence of Portugal's former colonial possessions is also notable, especially in the wide variety of spices used. These spices include piri piri and black pepper, as...

 cuisines. Many unique dishes resulted from the spice blends that the wives of Portuguese sailors used in an attempt to replicate European dishes. Its ingredients and seasonings include those from Europe, South America, Africa, India, and Southeast Asia, as well as local Chinese ingredients. Typically, Macanese food is seasoned with various spices and flavours including turmeric
Turmeric
Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to tropical South Asia and needs temperatures between 20 °C and 30 °C and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive...

, coconut milk
Coconut milk
Coconut milk is the water that comes from the grated meat of a coconut. The colour and rich taste of the milk can be attributed to the high oil content. In many parts of the world, the term coconut milk is also used to refer to coconut water, the naturally occurring liquid found inside the hollow...

, cinnamon
Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that is used in both sweet and savoury foods...

 and bacalhau
Bacalhau
Bacalhau is the Portuguese word for codfish and—in a culinary context—dried and salted codfish. Fresh cod is referred to as bacalhau fresco .-Use:...

, giving special aromas and tastes. Famous dishes include Galinha à Portuguesa
Galinha à Portuguesa
Galinha à Portuguesa or "Portuguese-style Chicken" is a dish of Macanese cuisine. Despite its name, Galinha à Portuguesa did not originate from Portugal as such; rather it came from Macao, where the dish was given the "Portuguese" name to enhance its status.Galinha à Portuguesa is served as pieces...

, Galinha à Africana (African chicken), Bacalhau
Bacalhau
Bacalhau is the Portuguese word for codfish and—in a culinary context—dried and salted codfish. Fresh cod is referred to as bacalhau fresco .-Use:...

, Macanese Chili Shrimps and stir-fry curry crab. Pork chop bun
Pork chop bun
A pork chop bun is one of the most famous and popular snacks in Macau. The bun is extremely crisp outside and very soft inside. A freshly fried pork chop is filled into the bun horizontally...

, ginger milk and Portuguese-style egg tart
Egg tart
The egg tart or egg custard tart is a kind of custard tart pastry commonly found in Hong Kong and other Asian countries, which consists of an outer pastry crust that is filled with egg custard and baked...

 are also very popular in Macau.

Macau preserves many historical properties in the urban area. The Historic Centre of Macau
Historic Centre of Macau
The Historic Centre of Macau is a collection of over twenty locations that witness the unique assimilation and co-existence of Chinese and Portuguese cultures in Macau, a former Portuguese colony...

, which includes some twenty-five historic locations, was officially listed as a World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

 UNESCO on 15 July 2005 during the 29th session of the World Heritage Committee
World Heritage Committee
The World Heritage Committee establishes the sites to be listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is responsible for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, defines the use of the World Heritage Fund and allocates financial assistance upon requests from States Parties...

, held in Durban
Durban
Durban is the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal and the third largest city in South Africa. It forms part of the eThekwini metropolitan municipality. Durban is famous for being the busiest port in South Africa. It is also seen as one of the major centres of tourism...

, South Africa.

Sports


Soccer has the greatest popularity in Macau, which has a representative international side, Macau national football team
Macau national football team
The Macau football team represents the Chinese special administrative region of Macau in international association football. The team is supervised by the Macau Football Association . The Macau football team has a ranking that is one of the lowest among the FIFA members...

. Another common sport is Rink Hockey, which is often practiced by the Portuguese. The national team of Macau is the most powerful of Asia and has many Rink Hockey Asian Championship
Rink Hockey Asian Championship
The Rink Hockey Asian Championship is a rink hockey competition with the national teams of Asian countries that happens every two years. It is organized by CARS, Confederation of Asia Roller Sports....

 titles. The last Championship was conquered in Dalian
Dalian
Dalian is a major city and seaport in the south of Liaoning province, Northeast China. It faces Shandong to the south, the Yellow Sea to the east and the Bohai Sea to the west and south. Holding sub-provincial administrative status, Dalian is the southernmost city of Northeast China and China's...

, China, on the 13th Asian Roller hockey Championship.

Macau always participate in the Rink Hockey World Championship
Rink Hockey World Championship
The FIRS Roller Hockey World Cup is a roller hockey competition also referred as the World Championship – A between the best male national teams in the World. It happens every two years and it is organized by FIRS....

 in B category. The automobile racing Macau Grand Prix
Macau Grand Prix
The Macau Grand Prix is a motor-racing event held annually in Macau, one of China's Special Administrative Regions. It is known for being the only street circuit racing event in which both car and motorcycle races are held...

 is arguably the most important international sporting event in Macau, mainly with Formula 3, Motorcycle Road Racing and Touring Car
Touring car
A touring car, or tourer, is an open car seating five or more. Touring cars may have two or four doors. Often, the belt line is lowered in the front doors to give the car a more sportive character. They were often fitted with a folding roof and side curtains. Engines on early models were either in...

 races.

Twin towns – Sister cities


Macau is twinned with:
São Paulo
São Paulo
São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and South America, and the world's seventh largest city by population. The metropolis is anchor to the São Paulo metropolitan area, ranked as the second-most populous metropolitan area in the Americas and among...

, Brazil Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

, Portugal Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

, Brazil Kolkata
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

, India Brasília
Brasília
Brasília is the capital city of Brazil. The name is commonly spelled Brasilia in English. The city and its District are located in the Central-West region of the country, along a plateau known as Planalto Central. It has a population of about 2,557,000 as of the 2008 IBGE estimate, making it the...

, Brasil Porto
Porto
Porto , also known as Oporto in English, is the second largest city in Portugal and one of the major urban areas in the Iberian Peninsula. Its administrative limits include a population of 237,559 inhabitants distributed within 15 civil parishes...

, Portugal Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

, Belgium Coimbra
Coimbra
Coimbra is a city in the municipality of Coimbra in Portugal. Although it served as the nation's capital during the High Middle Ages, it is better-known for its university, the University of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest in Europe and the oldest academic institution in the...

, Portugal Luanda
Luanda
Luanda, formerly named São Paulo da Assunção de Loanda, is the capital and largest city of Angola. Located on Angola's coast with the Atlantic Ocean, Luanda is both Angola's chief seaport and its administrative center. It has a population of at least 5 million...

, Angola Linköping
Linköping
Linköping is a city in southern middle Sweden, with 104 232 inhabitants in 2010. It is the seat of Linköping Municipality with 146 736 inhabitants and the capital of Östergötland County...

, Sweden Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, China

See also



  • Visa requirements for Chinese citizens of Macau
    Visa requirements for Chinese citizens of Macau
    Around 89 countries and territories grant visa-free or visa-upon-arrival access to Macao Special Administrative Region passport holders:-Africa:-Americas:-Asia:-Europe:-Oceania:-See also:Macao Special Administrative Region passport...

  • Visa policy of Macau
    Visa policy of Macau
    The Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region allows citizens of specific countries/territories to travel to Macao for tourism or business for up to 90, 30 or 7 days without having to obtain a visa - most of these nations are regarded as developed countries. For other entry purposes,...

  • Foreign relations of Macau
    Foreign relations of Macau
    As a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China , Macau's diplomatic relations and defence are the responsibility of the Central People's Government of the PRC...

  • List of bridges and tunnels in Macau
  • Macao Science Center
    Macao Science Center
    The Macao Science Center is a science center in Macau.The project to build the science center was conceived in 2001 and completed in 2009. The building was designed by Pei Partnership Architects in association with I. M. Pei and construction started in 2006...


External links


Government

General information
  • Macau from UCB Libraries GovPubs
  • Country Study: Macau from the United States Library of Congress
    Library of Congress
    The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

    (August, 2000)
  • Dr Howard M Scott "Macau"


Travel

Special Education and Child Development

Sports