Regional Adventures: Macao, China
Macao is one of two special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China. The other is Hong Kong. Macao is run under the policy of “One Country, Two Systems” which means that although they are part of the People’s Republic of China, Macao maintains its own legal system, police force, monetary system, customs policy, and immigration policy. However the PRC’s Central People’s Government is responsible for the territory’s defense and foreign affairs. Macau participates in many international organizations and events that do not require members to possess national sovereignty as well.
The Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, Macau’s constitution promulgated by China’s National People’s Congress in 1993, specify that Macau’s social and economic system, lifestyle, rights, and freedoms are to remain unchanged for at least 50 years after the transfer of sovereignty to China in 1999.
Under the principle of “one country, two systems”, Macau enjoys a high degree of autonomy in all areas except in defense and foreign affairs. Macau officials, rather than PRC officials, run Macau through the exercise of separate executive, legislative, and judicial powers, as well as the right to final adjudication. Macau also maintains its own separate currency, customs territory, and immigration and border controls. [Source: Wikipedia]
Macau Peninsula was originally an island, but a connecting sandbar gradually turned into a narrow isthmus, thus changing Macau into a peninsula. Land reclamation in the 17th century transformed Macau into a peninsula with generally flat terrain, though numerous steep hills still mark the original land mass. Alto de Coloane is the highest point in Macau, with an altitude of 170.6 metres (559.7 ft). With a dense urban environment, Macau has no arable land, pastures, forest, or woodland.
Macao’s economy is primarily based on tourism and gambling. With a quick glance around one is bound to find a casino of choice within walking distance of where you are standing. Other economic sources include manufacturing, textiles, and financial services.