Y Ping Chow believes citizens of Macau and Hong Kong will
Y Ping Chow believes citizens of Macau and Hong Kong will "get used, for better or worse, to the habit of how it works in China"

Portugal’s Chinese community eagerly awaits visit of Macau leader

Head of Macau government due to arrive on Tuesday

President of the League of Chinese in Portugal, Y Ping Chow, says the visit next week of the head of Macau’s government to Portugal “is much awaited by the Chinese community”, irrespective of whether or not they are from Macau.

“It is the first visit after Covid. It is a much-awaited visit by the Chinese community,” he told Lusa in Porto.

Macau’s PM Ho Iat Seng is due to arrive next Tuesday, leaving four days later on Saturday April 22.

Says Y Ping Chow, who heads the Chamber of Commerce of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Portugal – China (CCPC – PME), he is counting on the premier’s support to “better understand “the development of Hengqin [Mountain Island] and the Greater Bay,” (Guangzhou – Hong Kong – Macau)”.

He stressed how the pandemic and measures adopted in the territory have “greatly delayed trade, tourism, even business relations,” saying he was “sure” that the visit will help to restore them.

Y Ping Chow also said that CCPC-SME is interested in developing projects on Hengqin Island, a special zone for attracting businesses and investment announced in 2021.

On the issue of Macau investment in Portugal, Ping Chow said that “at the moment, there is a lot of possibility and capacity to invest in Portugal,” despite there being “a little bit” of a separation between the Macau and the non-Macau Chinese community.

As for the current situation in the Special Administrative Region, and speaking about the 30 years of the Basic Law, Y Ping Chow said that in terms of the principle of “one country, two systems”, “all the Chinese accept it”, as does the Portuguese government.

Despite this, he acknowledged that the transition is “something very difficult” for the Chinese who “lived in Macau and Hong Kong, who had a different life, a different management, a different habit, and suddenly started having a habit like in China.

“But they get used, for better or worse, to the habit of how it works in China,” he told Lusa, saying that “security in Macau has improved a lot because of tighter control.”

Asked about reports from the UN, the United States and the European Union about freedoms and human rights in Macau, Y Ping Chow said that the “right to freedom, right to thought, and of actions, is very beautiful. But, “what I can say is that if a person is subject to insecurity, hunger and ‘et cetera’, all that becomes secondary”.

Ping Chow also said that “the interference of the Portuguese government in Macau and the interference of the British government in Hong Kong are different”, with Hong Kong being under “more influence of the Americans” than Macau of the Europeans.

As for the years left until 2049, the end of the transition period between the Portuguese and Chinese administrations, Y Ping Chow said the date is “a basis to create more rapprochement, to create better integration.

“It could be 40, it could even be 60 years. 50 years is a date to make this junction the best possible,” he said.

Y Ping Chow also considered that the Macau government “has an interest in the [Portuguese] culture and habits, even here in Portugal, being maintained, and even in developing more” in the territory.

“But this development depends a lot on civil society”, such as “the participations of Portuguese companies”, something that he acknowledged “is difficult”.

“Portuguese businessmen are tiny”, he told his interviewers. “The big ones are already there. It is very difficult for the small ones, individually, to get in”.

Y Ping Chow also said that Portugal “should do more to be interested in participating in development with Macau,” something that “is happening,” but in which “much more can be done”.

Macau’s chief executive is due to have meetings during his visit with president Marcelo, the prime minister and the foreign affairs minister.

Accompanying Ho Iat Seng will be a delegation of 50 local businessmen, with several visits to Portuguese partners, focusing on the food and pharmaceutical sectors.

With the support of the Macau Trade and Investment Promotion Institute, the delegation has scheduled visits to Lisbon and Porto, with meetings with the Portuguese-Chinese Association of Traders and Industrialists and the Portugal-China Small and Medium Business Chamber of Commerce.

Working visits to Hospital da Luz, Quinta da Marmeleira (Alenquer), Amorim, Sovena and Delta groups, among others, are also scheduled. 

At the same time, between April 15-22, a daily ‘videomapping’ show evoking Macau will be held at the Terreiro do Paço (Lisbon downtown waterfront), in an initiative of the Macau Tourism Board (DST).