China’s nightmare scenario is that Hong Kong’s huge protest movement could spread to other cities – especially Macau, which is only an hour away and also has semi-autonomous “Special Administrative Region” status.
Macau has never been as restless, but there are signs the pro-democracy movement is spreading slowly among its youth, inspired by the dramatic events in Hong Kong.
“While Macau’s youth are not as politically engaged as their counterparts in Hong Kong, a small but increasingly vocal group of youngsters are seeing the protests as a stage to express their grievances and fight for a common cause,” the South China Morning Postreported on Friday.
Macau students told the SCMP they are growing bolder about speaking out as the Hong Kong saga continues, sensing their own government will take a lighter touch with them because it fears touching off anything like the mass protests rocking the other Special Administrative Region. Some of Macau’s youth work in Hong Kong or make frequent visits there, giving them first-hand exposure to the protest movement and an opportunity to participate in demonstrations.
On the other hand, young activists told the SCMP that Macau residents who do not personally visit Hong Kong tend to support its government and police, in part because their access to information is tightly controlled, especially for the large portion of the population that speaks only Chinese and cannot access the more robust Portuguese- and English-language media in their city. Macau politics are shaped by the large number of people who work directly for the city government, which provides generous welfare benefits financed by the thriving casino industry. read more