‘Macau has been the good boy:’ Amid protests, China launches a long-shot campaign for a Hong Kong alternative

Beijing seeks to turn 'the Las Vegas of China' into a financial hub—stock exchange and all.


20 Jan, 2020FORTUNE.COM

‘Macau has been the good boy:’ Amid protests, China launches a long-shot campaign for a Hong Kong alternative

The modern, nondescript black building that houses the Handover Gifts Museum of Macau is understated compared to its neighbors. The nearby Sands Casino, for instance, is emblazoned in gold. But inside its vast space, dozens of tapestries and statues send a breathless message of how much the Chinese territory, now known as a gambling mecca, means to the imposing mainland.

Each item is a gift to the city from provinces around China in honor of Portugal handing Macau over to China in 1999. At that time, Beijing established a ‘One Country, Two Systems’ arrangement with Macau, which mimicked the relationship it had brokered with Hong Kong two years earlier. Guangdong, for instance, gave the city a jade ball sitting atop a crystal lotus, which is a described as a “blossoming flower sitting under a full moon” and is supposed to symbolize Macau’s strong work ethic and “bright future.” The gift, like many in the museum, stands exactly 1,999 millimeters tall, a nod to the year of the handover. ...

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