Olympic heroes boost patriotic fervor in Macao as SAR celebrates hand-over anniversary
HK ‘historic’ election expected to embrace new future with Macao
Published: Dec 20, 2021 09:32 PM
The Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) hold a flag-raising ceremony on December 20, 2021, morning marking the 22nd anniversary of Macao's return to the motherland. Photo:VCG

The Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) hold a flag-raising ceremony on December 20, 2021, morning marking the 22nd anniversary of Macao's return to the motherland. Photo:VCG

A bright five-starred red flag is flying in the sky at Golden Lotus Square; the loud singing of the national anthem is hovering in people's hearts; The People's Liberation Army's Macao Garrison holds simultaneous flag-raising ceremonies in several barracks… The Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) government holds a grand ceremony marking the 22nd anniversary of the city's return to the motherland on Monday. 

This year's celebration was unique for people from both the Chinese mainland and the SAR, as a 68-strong delegation consisting of the country's elite athletes who competed in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games attended the flag-raising ceremony during their three-day visit to the city, which started on Sunday.  

The attendance of these "national heroes" greatly boosted patriotic fervor in Macao. Many local residents, especially high school students, showed the Global Times their high enthusiasm for having such a precious chance to "look at the Olympic heroes so closely." 

The anniversary also came as the Legislative Council (LegCo) election in Hong Kong - the first since the implementation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong and electoral reform - closed, with 90 members from different backgrounds and with different stances being elected. 

Some scholars and lawmakers in Macao said that the election will unveil new era of effective governance with the patriots-only principle in Hong Kong, and they hoped that both Macao and Hong Kong will stand together from a new point to embrace a better future and further integrate into the development of the Greater Bay Area.   

The flag-raising ceremony was attended by about 500 people, and hundreds of students performed wonderful dances. The delegation of elite Olympians will also share their experience and stories of achievement with local young people, including Macao athletes.

"I have been to Macao many times. This is the first time I was able to participate in the flag-raising ceremony. I was very touched, as it was a memory from childhood when Macao was handed over to the motherland," sprinter Su Bingtian, who made history and was dubbed the "Asian flying man," told after the ceremony.

Yang Ning, who headed the delegation, said at a banquet on Sunday evening that the General Administration of Sport will continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the mainland and Macao, and further promote the development of sports on both sides, according to the Xinhua News Agency. 

Kou Kam Fai, a member of the seventh Legislative Assembly of the Macao SAR, told the Global Times that Macao's election serves as an "example and leading role" for Hong Kong. 

"The election prevented local opposition forces from copying the anti-China model in Hong Kong and truly realized the principle of 'patriots governing Macao.' Apart from the broad base of people in Macao who love the motherland and Macao, this pioneering role can also serve as an inspiration for Hong Kong," Kou said.

He believed that the new LegCo in Hong Kong will promote a sounder executive and legislative relationship, focus on Hong Kong's long-term development, help solve deep-seated problems, and further integrate the city into the overall development of the country.

"The election in Hong Kong is historic. The members elected are those who serve the interests of Hong Kong and will not betray Hong Kong or be willing to serve as foreign agents. This represents a transformation from the stage of chaos to governance and prosperity for Hong Kong," Kou said. 

He also believed that the election will further reinforce Macao's persistence in implementing the "one country, two systems" principle and help the two SARs forge ahead together on a more confident road.

The liaison office of the central government in Hong Kong released a statement on Monday congratulating Hong Kong on successfully holding the LegCo election. 

The office said the election underscores the progress and advantages of the new electoral system, which is also a successful practice of democracy with Hong Kong characteristics.

At the time of the election, some countries like the US and the UK held the so-called democracy summit and issued a six-month report on Hong Kong to support the anti-China rioters in an attempt to continue disturbing Hong Kong, the liaison office said.

"Those ill-intentioned performances will only prove that there are external forces interfering in Hong Kong affairs, showing that anti-China rioters are culprits who disrupt the city's democratic development." 

Chong Chon Fai, a Peking University graduate with a PhD in history who is also the director of the Chinese culture museum at the Pui Ching Middle School in Macao, told the Global Times that Macao residents cherish a patriotic tradition, and they preserved their traditional culture and customs during the Portuguese-ruled period, when the Western and Eastern cultures met and collided. 

"That is why we are happy to see that Hong Kong enters a new era," Chong said.

According to Chong, some of his students were misguided by the rioters and secessionist media in Hong Kong. The election, which helped bring order out of chaos, will play a significant role in waking these young people up, and helping them draw back from the precipice and retreat from the wrong path.