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Macau has a relatively older population, with less than one-fourth being younger than age The service sector dominates the economy, employing about three-fourths of the total labour force.

There are few natural resources, an exception being fish in the Pearl River estuary, which are used for local needs. Agriculture is minimal; small quantities of vegetables are grown, and there is some poultry raising chickens and eggs.

Macau is a free port , and trade is vital. Other imports include machinery and apparatuses, and imported petroleum provides most of the power for domestic electric generation.

Apparel and textile fabrics are the primary exports, and reexports constitute a small but significant proportion of the total value of exports. Since the mids the government has made efforts to attract foreign investors and thus diversify the economy away from its heavy reliance on tourism.

Internal transport is good, and there are local ferries between the peninsula and the islands. Following the December transfer of administrative status from Portugal to China, Macau remained a free and open port. An international airport became operational in Macau in Before it became a special administrative region of China in , Macau followed the colonial constitution promulgated in ; it was administered by a governor, who in agreement with the Legislative Assembly was appointed by the Portuguese president.

For a period of 50 years, Macau will thus retain its capitalist economy and some political autonomy , but foreign policy and defense matters will remain under Chinese administration. According to the Basic Law, the chief executive, who serves a five-year term, holds executive authority but is under the jurisdiction of the central government in Beijing.

An election committee of members, who serve five-year terms, selects the chief executive, who can serve up to two consecutive five-year terms. The chief executive appoints an executive council, which consists of 7 to 11 members, to assist in policy making. The legislature is a single-chamber Legislative Assembly, headed by an elected president and vice president; the assembly has 33 members, who serve four-year terms and are selected by a combination of direct popular election 14 , indirect election by a committee of special-interest groups 12 , and appointment by the chief executive 7.

Law is based on the Portuguese system. The judicial system was completely administered from Portugal until , when a high court of justice was established in Macau. A new penal code was authorized in in response to a rise in crime. The Basic Law states that the judicial system remains intact with the transfer of sovereignty and that all judges are appointed by the chief executive.

The highest court is the Court of Final Appeal, headed by a chief justice. There are also lower primary courts, intermediate courts, and administrative courts.

Macau has a small security force, but defense is the responsibility of the central government in Beijing. Primary and secondary education in Macau is overwhelmingly at private schools, although the great majority of these schools receive government subsidies. Five years of primary education are officially compulsory, and education is free for children from age 6 to Most receive instruction in Chinese Cantonese , while the remainder are taught in either English or Portuguese.

An agreement for jurisdiction of the land to be transferred to Macau was reached in as part of a year lease from China.

The new campus was inaugurated in , and relocation was completed in Literacy is now nearly universal in Macau; a slightly larger proportion of males than females is literate. There are medical centres and hospitals in Macau, and traditional Chinese medicine is also practiced. The elderly receive medications free of charge.

The average life expectancy is about 80 years, and the birth and infant mortality rates are both low. The government has constructed low-income housing units, and the private sector has introduced social housing with controlled prices. Chinese culture predominates, overlaid by a veneer of Portuguese architecture notably churches and cathedrals and customs.

Chinese temples and shrines coexist with restored villas from the colonial period. Barrier Gate, which links Macau Peninsula to the mainland, is a popular spot for tourists, as are such early 17th-century structures as Monte Fort and the nearby ruined facade of St. Spectator sports include both dog and horse racing. The Macau Grand Prix attracts numerous international competitors and fans of motor racing. Football soccer , track and field , volleyball, and roller hockey are popular team and individual sports.

In the s Macau hosted several roller hockey world championships. Adjacent to the art museum is the Macau Cultural Centre, with several performance and exhibition venues. Also of note is the Macau Museum in the Monte Fort compound , which has exhibits on the history of the region. Local radio stations in Macau one state-run and a state-run television station broadcast programs in Chinese Cantonese and Portuguese. In addition, cable and satellite television broadcasting is available, and television and radio broadcasts also come from Hong Kong.

Several daily newspapers are circulated; most are published in Chinese, but a handful are in Portuguese and English. Internet use is widespread, and mobile telephone usage is ubiquitous.

The first Portuguese ship anchored in the Pearl River estuary in , and further Portuguese visits followed regularly. Trade with China commenced in China, nonetheless, still refused to recognize Portuguese sovereignty over the territory. The first governor was appointed in the 17th century, but the Portuguese remained largely under the control of the Chinese. Missionaries carried over on Portuguese ships transformed Macau into an East Asian centre of Christianity.

The Chinese population in the territory continued to grow when the communist government assumed power in China in In Portugal officially made Macau an overseas province. Following a military coup in Portugal in , the government allotted more administrative autonomy and economic independence to the territory. The constitution promulgated in established the Legislative Assembly, which was dominated by the minority Portuguese.

Until diplomatic relations were solidified between Portugal and the communist government in China in , discussions on transferring Macau to Chinese control were fruitless. In March the Portuguese governor dissolved the assembly in response to opposition within the government to extend the right to vote to the Chinese majority.

A few months later new elections, which included Chinese suffrage, finally brought a significant number of Chinese deputies into the government. They agreed to provisions under the Basic Law that would ensure the autonomy of Macau for 50 years after the start of Chinese rule. Defense and foreign policy matters were to be administered by China, and those living in Macau without Portuguese passports would become Chinese citizens. Elections continued to turn out record numbers of voters and a Chinese majority legislature.

On December 20, , Macau became a special administrative region under Chinese sovereignty, as Hong Kong had in The day festival has an exciting programme of cutting-edge 21st-century surprises from world-renowned contemporary artists and creative crowd-sourcing such as the Auction of Love Stories, a performance inviting the public to submit love stories for auction. The Chinese New Year parades are impressive and worth planning your trip around February.

And seeing the streets of Macao during the festival will lift your spirits. An image of Christ carrying the Cross is carried through the streets in solemn procession between St. According to an ancient legend, Tou Tei God of Earth is a god that has power over the earthly realm. In the past, farmers prayed to Tou Tei for fertile land and big harvests.

A roasted pig and Cantonese opera are some of the gifts to Tou Tei. The Portuguese colonisation of Macao brought a focus on Easter, which is an important time of year in Macao. If you ever wanted to see money going up in smoke, the Ching Ming festival is the time to go to Macao. Ching Ming is a family festival, a day when people pay respects to their ancestors.

They tidy the tombstones, offer fresh flowers and glasses of wine to their ancestors. They burn joss sticks, paper cars, fake money and other earthly goods as a symbolic gesture that the dead will receive these offerings on the other side. Families also present roast pigs, fruit and other food to the deceased and the day usually ends with a huge family feast. Pak Tai Temple in Taipa Village is the place to see lion and dragon dances and Chinese Opera performed during this festival.

According to legend, Pak Tai was the hero who defeated the Demon King, who was terrorising earth. The fishermen who lived in Taipa were devoted to this Taoist god. This neck to neck nautical battle is an exciting ancient tribal seafaring competition.

Watch elaborately hand-carved wooden boats bearing the famous dragon heads effortlessly glide over these shimmering waters. Like a lot of Asian celebrations, this one has a lunar connection, scheduled on the fifth month, often on the fifth day. Macanese love this festival so much the territory has declared the Macau International Dragon Boat Race and Festival a public holiday. Wushu is a contemporary martial arts discipline that evolved from traditional Chinese martial arts.

Events include Sanda which is a bit like Muay Thai or kickboxing , Taoulu for impressive displays of flying kicks , dragon and lion dances. Each September, fireworks experts from all around the world travel to Macao to compete in this major international fireworks competition. The 29 th Macao International Fireworks Display Contest is an international competition of substance. Visiting Macao during the festival is one of the best times of the year to travel to Macao with kids.

Are you ready for ghost month? Come night time on a special date in August find many people around Macau turning to prayer. Known as the feast of the hungry ghosts in Taoist culture, the faithful like to celebrate the spiritually inducing event on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month. Lots of superstition and symbols are wrapped around this ancient celebration. Many choose to be housebound, fearing to leave their homes but then many also like to gather together and pay their respects to the deceased by giving offerings and burning incense.

It seems by doing this you feel better and have good health. Feast of the Hungry Ghosts is a traditional Chinese festival to appease the souls of ancestors and forgotten spirits. The mooncakes are made to remember the 14th-century uprising against the Mongols when revolution leaders communicated plans through embedded paper messages in the cakes.

Wander around and watch the dancers as you nibble on tasty Portuguese treats. The festival is held the Taipa Houses Museum and is a celebration of Portuguese-speaking communities around the world.

In previous years, booths representing Portuguese communities around the world have had displays from other regions conquered by the Portuguese.

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