Macao to appoint advisers on national security, prevents external interference risks in financial area
Move completes organizational structure
Published: Dec 03, 2021 03:44 PM Updated: Dec 03, 2021 07:49 PM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

The central government of China has decided that the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) shall have a national security affairs adviser and three national security technical advisers, Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday. 

The decision was made in an affirmation to the chief executive of the Macao SAR Ho Lat Seng's recent proposal that the central government should set up the posts of national security affairs adviser and national security technical adviser in the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the Macao SAR.

The Macao SAR government said on Friday that it will firmly support the central government's decision, which is justified and reasonable, and shows the care and support of the central government, and will do all it can to ensure its implementation.  

As the internal and external environment changes and the practice of "one country, two systems" deepens, Macao SAR faces new challenges in safeguarding national security. It is of practical necessity and urgency to further establish and improve the legal system and enforcement mechanism to safeguard national security in line with the overall interests of the country and  Macao society, the SAR said in a statement.  

Safeguarding national security is the responsibility of the central government, the Macao SAR said, noting that since its return to the motherland, Macao SAR has maintained a sound performance in safeguarding national security, with strong support from the central government.

Experts said Macao's proposal shows it has firmly implemented the constitutional order formed by the Constitution and Basic Law of the Macao SAR, and actively improved the "one country, two systems" framework, which embodies the tradition of Macao being governed by patriots.

The post of national security affairs adviser, who will be in charge of supervising, guiding, coordinating, and supporting the Macao SAR in safeguarding national security, will be held by the director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Macao SAR Fu Ziying. 

The national security technical advisers will be relevant personnel of the Liaison Office.

Advisers must be familiar with the Constitution and Basic Law and have influence on national security affairs. There are the same personnel appointments in Hong Kong's Committee for Safeguarding National Security, Tian Feilong, a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times on Friday. 

The introduction of the new posts in Macao is a preventive system construction based on the experience of Hong Kong, which is a great promotion for the legal level of the idea of "patriots governing Macao," Tian said. 

The mechanism of national security advisers will enhance the security and contingency capacity of the "one country, two systems" framework and greatly enhance Macao's ability to resist risks of external interference and infiltration, Tian said.

"This is a typical example of the combination of Macao's autonomy and the central government's jurisdiction," Tian said, adding that "it also illustrates that the central government gives equal support and legally safeguards Hong Kong and Macao's development." 

Although Macao passed its national security law in 2009, fulfilling Article 23 of the Macao Basic Law, since Hong Kong enacted its national security law and set the Committee for Safeguarding National Security for the HKSAR in July 2020, Macao has lagged behind Hong Kong in terms of national security system construction.

Chen Duanhong, a professor of law at Peking University and senior adviser on Hong Kong and Macao affairs, told the Global Times that most of the work and organization setup of national security in Macao is localized, and it is inadequate to rely only on the local legal force to guarantee national security for the region.

Although Macao is almost free from secessionism and other political risks like in Hong Kong, the external forces involved in Macao's gambling industry are complex, involving financial security, Chen said.

The world's largest gambling hub, Suncity Group, reportedly closed all of its VIP gaming rooms in Macao on Tuesday, after the company's founder and casino tycoon Alvin Chau Cheok Wa was arrested on illegal gambling charges.

After the adoption of the national security law for Hong Kong, Western anti-China forces have lost their foothold and space in the SAR. Given this, besides Taiwan island, Macao is also a possible place for them to break through, experts said.

By setting up national security advisers in Macao,China is sending a signal that China's national security has no blind spots and is an all-round concept, Chen said.