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Portugal, China and the Macau Negotiations, 1986–1999

Carmen Amado Mendes

Publication Year: 2013

On 20 December 1999 the city of Macau became a Special Administrative Region of China after nearly 450 years of Portuguese administration. Drawing extensively on Portuguese and other sources, and on interviews with key participants, this book examines the strategies and policies adopted by the Portuguese government during the negotiations. The study sets these events in the larger context of Portugal’s retreat from empire, the British experience with Hong Kong, and changing social and political conditions within Macau. A weak player on the international stage, Portugal was still able to obtain concessions during the negotiations, notably in the timing of the retrocession and continuing Portuguese nationality arrangements for some Macau citizens. Yet the tendency of Portuguese leaders to use the Macau question as a tool in their domestic political agendas hampered their ability to develop an effective strategy and left China with the freedom to control the process of negotiation. The first sustained analysis of the Macau negotiations from the Portuguese perspective, this book will be of interest to historians, diplomats, and students of international relations.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU

Series: Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Studies


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

This book is based upon my dissertation, “Portugal and the Settlement of the Macau Question, 1984–1999; Pragmatism in International Negotiations” submitted to the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London. That research was made possible by a research scholarship from the Portuguese Ministry of Science ...


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pp. xi-xii

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pp. 1-6

This book examines how the Portuguese government negotiated the question of Macau’s retrocession with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the 1980s and 1990s—primarily between 1986 and 1999. As negotiating partners interested in passive settlement, Portugal and China used Macau as a political showcase. ...

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1: The Ambiguity over the Future of Macau

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pp. 7-36

Long before the negotiations about the future of Macau started, a cloud of precariousness hovered for a number of centuries over Portugal’s presence in a small peninsula, offset by fluctuations in Chinese power. It was probably out of sheer short-sightedness that Portugal did not legitimise its presence in Macau, ...

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2: Negotiations for the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration on Macau

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pp. 37-62

The first signs that Beijing was considering seriously the settlement question came in June 1982, when Deng Xiaoping made a public declaration of China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong and Macau stating that these territories would be re-integrated into China within a few years, under the banner of “one country, two systems”. ...

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3: The Transition Period and the Problems of “Localisation”

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pp. 63-84

The Joint Declaration on Macau left many issues to be negotiated before the transfer of the Portuguese administration to China. The 1989 Tiananmen incident removed from power some of the Chinese leadership that had signed the Joint Declaration, most importantly the progressive Zhao Ziyang. ...

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4: Other Delicate Transition Issues: Covenants, Construction and Possible Corruption

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pp. 85-102

This chapter focuses on three other sensitive issues of the transition: the inclusion in the Macau Basic Law of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the construction of the Macau International Airport; and the Orient Foundation. ...

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5: A Final Assessment

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pp. 103-114

Although in many ways the main actor in the Sino-Portuguese negotiations over Macau from 1986 to 1999 was the People’s Republic of China, in essence this book analysed Portugal’s foreign policy and how the Portuguese side dealt with the question of Macau. We found that the Portuguese approach towards the negotiations depended on the political parties and leaders that were in power. ...


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pp. 115-142


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pp. 143-152


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pp. 153-158

E-ISBN-13: 9789888180127
Print-ISBN-13: 9789888139002

Page Count: 160
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1
Series Title: Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Studies