Hiroshima Peace Science Volume 32
2010 発行


Sino-Portuguese Relations on the status of Macau
Despite the markedly anti-colonial ideology, of the Chinese Revolution, it did not prompt immediate sovereignty claims over Macau. Nevertheless, some later political developments were clear indicators that China did not acknowledge the status quo emerging from the complex process leading to Portugal's sovereignty claims over Macau. For example, Chinese authorities kept on exerting pressure and aimed at preventing, in 1955, the celebrations scheduled to commemorate four centuries settlement in Macau.

China's anti-imperialist strategy had granted political support to all struggles for national liberation in Asian and African region. But, the Chinese stance over Macau would be rebuked by the Soviet Union, who saw this benevolent treatment as one of China's foreign policy in consistencies. During the Cultural Revolution, Macau erupted into bloody riots on 3 and 4 December. Rioters, mainly student engaged in protesting against the Macau Portuguese authorities. The Chinese authorities' use of firm pressure on the Macau government such as stationing war vessels off Macau, concentrating troops at the border and systematic boycott of supplies to the Portuguese population as well as Portuguese capitulation to the demands of Guangdong Provincial Government and a locally elected committee of representatives reflect not only the precarious power of the Portuguese State, but also the greater role played, directly an indirectly, by the Chinese authorities in Macau. In this sense, Portugal was no longer sovereign, but rather caretakers of a condominium run under China's supervision.

The basis for fundamental consensus between the two sovereign states on the status of Macau would be provided by the "25th of April," within the context of a global de-colonization plan resulting from the emergence in Portugal of a new political and constitutional order. It was in this context that the Portuguese government issued a Diplomatic Note on the 6th January 1975, whereby after considering Taiwan an integral part of China, and the People's Republic Government the sole representative of the Chinese People, it announced that the territory of Macau may be the subject to negotiations at proper time in future. Formal consensus, however, would only be reached upon establishment of diplomatic relations between the PRC and Portugal on 8th February 1979, when additional protocol on the "question of Macau" was signed. Pursuant to the provisions of the agreement kept secret until 1987 by force of the express will of both parties, Macau was to be considered Chinese territory under Portuguese administration, the time frame and terms of such transfer sovereignty committed to future negotiation.

Finally, negotiations on Macau were carried out between 30th June 1986 and 20th March 1987, culminating with an agreement that would be signed in Beijing on 13th April 1987 by both states. Pursuant to the agreement, the PRC would resume the exercise of sovereignty over Macau with effect from 20th December 1999, and in accordance with article 31 of the Chinese Constitution, it would establish a Macau Special Administrative Region of the Peoples Republic of China upon resuming the sovereignty over Macau.
Copyright (c) 2010 Institute for Peace Science, Hiroshima University