Macau Autonomy - Looking for a Fresh Awakening

6 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2009 Last revised: 31 Aug 2014

See all articles by Arnaldo Gonçalves

Arnaldo Gonçalves

Catholic University-Lisbon; International Political Science Association (IPSA)

Date Written: June 22, 2009


After 10 years of life, the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) is under pressure because of the moat between expectations and achievements by Macau's local government and the spectrum of autonomy conquered through the leverage of the political arrangement. An arrangement opened by the bilateral negotiations between Portugal and the PRC that led to the signature of the Joint Declaration between the Government of Portugal and the Government of the PRC's concerning to the Question of Macao. A set of mutual obligations ratified in the letter and spirit of Macau Basic Law (MBL). The so-called "second system" has increasingly become under scrutiny as a new Law of State Security (Lei de Bases da Segurança Interna) made its way and was quickly approved by the local Legislative Assmbly, albeit the reservations that rise in the legal community, in the pro-democracy camp and also among many expatriates. This law has beed seen as a Trojan Horse for the mainland interference and control of the MSAR, turning the exercise of the fundamental human rights and liberties uncertain.

Keywords: Macao, China, Autonomy, Rule of Law, Constitutional Law, Federalism, Sovereignty, Portugal

JEL Classification: K10, K33, P20

Suggested Citation

Gonçalves, Arnaldo, Macau Autonomy - Looking for a Fresh Awakening (June 22, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Arnaldo Gonçalves (Contact Author)

Catholic University-Lisbon ( email )

Palma de Cima
Lisboa, 1649-023
+351 21 721 40 00 (Phone)


International Political Science Association (IPSA) ( email )

Montreal, Quebec

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