Zhang Hang Dejiang says Macau is full of vitality

By JULIE ZHU – Macau Daily Times

Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the National People’s Congress and the official responsible for overseeing Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, arrived yesterday in Macau for a three-day visit.

The Times knows that this morning, among other visits, Zhang will be at the Legislative Assembly for a closed-door meeting with lawmakers. It’s the first time that one of the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party visits the local parliament.

Speaking to reporters on the tarmac of the Macau International Airport right after he set foot on the territory, Zhang said that “since Macau’s handover, its economy and society have made notable changes, the life of the population has improved significantly, and there is a vitality in all aspects.”

Zhang said that he was in Macau at the behest of President Xi Jinping to observe the evolution of the region and to hear the local government’s work report. He added that his first goal in Macau is to “feel Macau’s development, success, and the happiness of its citizens.”

Zhang noted that, since he oversees Macau and Hong Kong affairs, he “follows up Macau’s development and changes daily.” He said he will “walk a lot, listen a lot, and see a lot” during his three-day trip to Macau.

The high official of China, when referring to Xi Jinping’s directives, said that he is in Macau specifically to “listen to the work report from the government and related departments; listen to opinions from all sectors; and, ensure that Macau improves.”

He said that the central government will keep supporting Macau’s economic and social developments.

At the very beginning of Zhang’s speech he asked the media to convey “cordial greetings and kind wishes from chairman Xi Jinping and the Central Government, and from the country’s people from all ethnicities.”

According to Zhang, his first visit to Macau traces back to the year of 2004, when he was still working for Guangdong Province. “In order to push forward the collaboration among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau, following the approval of the Central Government, and in order to push forward the Pan-Pearl River Delta (PPRD), I came to Macau,” explained Zhang.

Aside from these recent changes, in the past, Macau and Guangdong were planning to explore the Hengqin Island as well as the relocation of the University of Macau. “During that period, [Macau] left us with beautiful memories,” admitted Zhang, adding that the fruitful results of these projects were witnessed yesterday.

In order to show Macau’s enthusiastic welcome to the top Chinese leader, Macau sent 240 primary school students to the airport. The students were holding China’s national flags, Macau SAR flags, and flowers, and repeatedly shouting “welcome, welcome, warmly welcome” to Zhang.

Macau Chief Executive Chui Sai On, the director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Wang Guangya, and the head of the Central Government Liaison Office in Macau, Wang Zhimin, among other current and previous Macau government high officials, welcomed Zhang, yesterday morning, at the airport.