China’s President Xi Jinping urged the people of Macau to respect the “one country, two systems” principle and warned against “external interference,” a comment that analysts believed was aimed at pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Xi made the comments during the last day of his visit to Macau on Saturday.
Xi reportedly warned Hong Kong and Macau against a "misguided approach" and compared focusing on either “one country” or “two systems” as wearing the wrong shoes. Like Hong Kong, Macau is also a special autonomous region and has seen several protests by pro-democracy activists this year. Pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, which ended last week, had continued since September, demanding full democratic rights to elect the city's leadership. The Occupy Central movement saw major roadways being blocked, while several student leaders were arrested.
“We must both adhere to the one-China principle and respect the differences of the two systems … at no time should we focus only on one side to the neglect of the other,” Xi reportedly said. “This is the only way leading to sound and steady progress.” He also said that any other way would be “a misguided approach from the beginning” and like “putting one’s left foot into the right shoe.”
Xi, on the 15th anniversary of Macau's handover from Portugal to China, also reportedly called on the citizens to ensure stability and unity in the city.
Larry So Man-yum, a veteran Macau political observer, believed that Xi’s remarks were aimed at Hong Kong instead of Macau, the South China Morning Post reported.
Meanwhile, over 100 people are expected to participate in a pro-democracy rally in Macau on Saturday afternoon. "In the light of Hong Kong's umbrella movement, I think Macau people should escalate our actions for democracy," local protest leader Jason Chao told Agence France-Presse. "We need a democratic political system in which the citizens can hold the officials accountable."