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Country Report Macau
The Economist Intelligence Unit, May 2013, Pages: 19
Media reports indicate that a member of the mainland's ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, Li Gang, is set to become the head of the central government's Liaison Office in Macau.
Mr Li will take over as the central government's top representative in the territory when the incumbent, Bai Zhijian, leaves the post later this year. He spent nine years as deputy representative of the Liaison Office in Hong Kong, before moving to Macau in December 2012, also as the deputy representative. The Liaison Office functions as a shadow authority in the two Special Administrative Regions, conveying the central government's instructions about policies to the local administrations. It is bitterly resented by many in Hong Kong, who see it as meddling in local affairs and stifling democratic reforms. Mr Li negotiated with Hong Kong's Democratic Party over electoral reform in 2010, successfully winning the acquiescence of the party for a reform package backed by the centre.
His mission in Macau is unlikely to be similar: the cause of democracy carries much less weight locally. Instead, his main focus will be to try to curb money-laundering and other corrupt activities by mainland figures visiting Macau. In 2012 the territory's gambling revenue reached MPtc304.1bn (US$38.1bn). Of the total, 70% was spent by VIP clients, including many CCP cadres and mainland-government officials who used state assets or funds to gamble. One recent example was Yang Kun, a former vice-president of the state-owned Agricultural Bank of China and a senior CCP cadre, who was detained by the mainland authorities in 2012 as part of an unspecified investigation. Reuters recently reported that Mr Yang owed some US$490m in gambling debts in Macau.
Country Report Macau
China's ruling CCP looks to clean up its act in Macau
Impact on the forecast