New leader of Macao sworn in Xi's presence

New leader of Macao sworn in Xi's presence

China announced earlier this month that it was suspending visits by USA military ships and aircraft to Hong Kong, a reaction to a new law formalising America's support for pro-democracy protesters in the special administrative region.

Soon after Xi concluded his three-day visit to Macau, China's banking and insurance regulator on Friday announced a series of measures to strengthen financial ties between the territory and the mainland.

The president arrived in Macao on Wednesday and his agenda included meetings with its leaders, a tour of schools, government offices and economic centers, and a cultural gala to celebrate the date.

City leaders put the tiny gambling enclave of just 632,000 people on a security lock down, including barring political activists and journalists from nearby Hong Kong, which has been wracked by months of often-violent anti-government protests.

The US legislation, which also threatens sanctions for human rights violations, came after similar "citizen diplomacy" petitions in Hong Kong this year to the US consulate and has been cheered by protesters waving the stars and stripes flag.

A Hong Kong resident was arrested by mainland police last week while crossing into Macau on a newly built bridge linking it to Hong Kong and the mainland city of Zhuhai.

China's leadership has used Macau's handover anniversary to showcase the benefits of deference to authoritarian rule, a pointed signal to those protesting across the Pearl River Delta in Hong Kong.

Ho Iat-seng, a former member of China's top lawmaking body, won a one-horse race that summer to become Macau's new chief executive - a position that's picked by a 400-member committee piled with Beijing loyalists.

President Xi Jinping said on Friday China would not allow foreign forces to interfere with its special regions of Hong Kong and Macau, as he swore in a new pro-Beijing government for the gambling hub of Macau.

That feeling of optimism is largely absent in Hong Kong, which reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997 and where frustrations over a stagnant economy and astronomical housing prices helped fuel the protests that at times drew an estimated quarter of the population of 7.5 million people.

"If the family lives in harmony, all affairs will prosper", he told delegates at a banquet on Thursday evening in which he listed a series of accomplishments he said Macau had excelled at.

President Jinping also said that he would not tolerate foreign powers meddling with China's domestic policies.

Security checks were also ramped up in Hong Kong's ferry terminals and on a huge bridge and tunnel system linking the two cities.

Xi said Macao should take advantage of the opportunity presented by the Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area project, referring to infrastructure plans that Beijing says will contribute to the development of the southern part of the country.

The skyline and market have changed beyond recognition using glittering casinos raking at every week that which Las Vegas collects in per month.

Macau's GDP has soared from $6.4 billion in 1999 to more than $55 billion while per capita GDP is the third highest in the world behind Luxembourg and Switzerland.

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