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TITLE:  MACAU HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE:  FEBRUARY 1995









                             MACAU


Macau, a tiny enclave on the south China coast encompassing 
only 6 square miles, is recognized by both China and Portugal 
as Chinese territory under Portuguese administration.  The 
"Organic Statute" of 1976, which serves as Macau's 
Constitution, grants it considerable administrative, financial, 
and legislative autonomy.

Legislative power is shared between the Portuguese Government 
and Macau's Legislative Assembly.  The Governor, appointed by 
the Portuguese President, holds expansive powers under the 
statute.  Portuguese metropolitan law serves as the basis for 
the legal system, which features a judiciary and jury trials.  
The police force is under the control of the civilian 
authorities.

Under the 1987 Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration, Macau will 
become a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 
December 20, 1999, and operate under the principle of "one 
country, two systems," to remain unchanged for 50 years.  The 
Macau SAR's future Constitution, called the "Basic Law," was 
promulgated on March 31, 1993.

Macau's economy is fueled by legalized gambling, which has 
produced a thriving tourist industry, and by the export of 
textiles and other light industrial products.  With a 
population of approximately 400,000 people, Macau has a per 
capita gross domestic product of approximately $14,100.

Although Macau citizens derive a wide range of rights and 
freedoms from Macau's status as a Portuguese territory, they 
have limited ability to change their government.  The Governor 
is appointed by the Portuguese President, only a third of the 
legislators are directly elected, and the territory's future 
path has been set by Lisbon and Beijing.  China, through the 
Basic Law, has agreed to continue the application of 
international covenants on civil and political rights and on 
economic, social, and cultural rights after 1999.  The 
involuntary transfer by Macau police to Chinese authorities of 
an Australian citizen of Chinese ancestry drew international 
criticism in 1994.  In addition, human rights advocates and 
journalists believe that the 1993 reorganization of Macau's 
judiciary has resulted in a significant erosion of judicial 
independence and contributed to journalistic self-censorship 
which has increased as the day of reversion approaches.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reports of political or other extrajudicial 
killing.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of disappearances.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Such abuses are prohibited by law, and this prohibition is 
respected.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Legal prohibitions against arbitrary arrest exist.  The 
examining judge, who conducts a pretrial inquiry in criminal 
cases, has a wide range of powers to collect evidence, order or 
dismiss indictments, validate and maintain the detention of 
suspects, and determine whether to release accused persons.  
Police must present persons remanded in custody to an examining 
judge within 48 hours of detention.  The accused's counsel may 
examine the evidence.  If the judge is not convinced that the 
evidence is adequate he may dismiss the accused.

Macau police on a number of occasions reportedly have detained 
residents and visitors for alleged commercial and criminal 
violations in China and handed over these persons to Chinese 
authorities for incarceration in China, despite the absence of 
a Sino-Portuguese extradition treaty.  This practice recently 
drew international attention when James Peng, an overseas 
Chinese businessman traveling on an Australian passport, was 
removed from his room in a Macau hotel and transported to China 
for detention for an indefinite period.  According to his 
lawyer, Peng's requests for legal representation and contact 
with the Australian Consulate were denied.  At year's end, he 
remained in jail after waiting more than 12 months for charges 
to be filed against him.  Despite the fact that a trial was 
held in November, announcement of the verdict has been 
postponed pending review of the proceedings by authorities in 
Beijing.  The Chinese Government notified Peng recently of its 
decision to bring new charges against him related to 
allegations of nonpayment of his parents' rent in Shenzhen 
(China).

Another extradition issue concerns the recent extradition to 
China of two prisoners accused of crimes that in China are 
punishable by the death penalty.  In this case, the Macau 
Supreme Court authorized the extradition, despite Article 33 of 
the Portuguese Constitution which forbids the extradition of 
persons to countries which practice the death penalty.  This 
case has been appealed to the European Human Rights Commission 
in Strasbourg and to the Constitutional Court in Lisbon.  A 
decision is expected in early 1995.  Macau authorities have not 
approved any extraditions pending this decision.

Exile is not practiced.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

Macau law provides for a fair trial.  Journalists and human 
rights activists claim that the judicial branch reorganization  
implemented in 1993 has eroded the independence of the 
judiciary.  Oversight bodies established to recommend judicial 
appointments and reappointments are comprised of a majority of 
nonmagisterial members who have strong ties to the executive 
branch and to China.  Human rights advocates and journalists 
believe that this increased executive influence over the 
judiciary has prejudiced court decisions, particularly the 
prosecution of journalists for charges of defamation and abuse 
of press freedom.  In one current case involving freedom of the 
press, the judge who will determine the outcome of the case 
against the journalist will have his reappointment decided by 
an oversight panel whose membership includes the same person 
who originally brought the charges against the journalist.

Juries determine questions of fact in criminal cases.  At 
present, Macau's courts are semi-autonomous from the Portuguese 
judicial system.  Macau's Supreme Court was established in 
April 1992.  In cases involving "basic rights of the citizen," 
defendants still can appeal to Portugal's Constitutional Court, 
which may overturn all lower court rulings.  After reversion, 
when the Macau judicial system becomes completely autonomous, 
the power of final adjudication in the Macau SAR will be vested 
in Macau's court of final appeal.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
         Correspondence

Laws provide for the inviolability of the home and of 
communication, the right of ownership of private property and 
enterprises, and the freedom to marry and raise a family.  
There is no indication of abuses of these rights by the 
Government.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Journalists and human rights activists believe the practice of 
both academic and media self-censorship is increasing in Macau 
as reversion approaches.  The Government owns a majority share 
of the radio and television service.

Most of Macau's newspapers appear to be pro-China publications 
which critics charge do not give equal coverage to liberal and 
prodemocracy voices.  Journalists assert that self-censorship 
is growing among newspaper reporters, some of whom express 
fears that they will lose their jobs if they criticize China or 
government policy.  In 1994 seventeen journalists issued a plea 
for Portuguese President Mario Soares to investigate violations 
of press freedom in Macau.  The journalists accused the Macau 
government radio station of suppressing broadcasting of the 
journalists' accusations, including complaints that the 1992 
revision of the judicial system "fails to safeguard fundamental 
rights" set out in the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration.

Since the beginning of 1994, the Government has markedly 
increased its prosecution of journalists on charges of abuse of 
press freedom.  In the previous 3 years, three complaints of 
abuse of press freedom were prosecuted.  Since January the 
Government brought eight cases against journalists for 
criticizing the Government or persons appointed by the 
Government to high-level positions.  Macau government executive 
branch appointees are complainants in these.  Reporters and 
human rights advocates believe that the executive branch 
influenced judicial handling of these cases through the 
recently established judicial council of Macau, largely 
comprised of pro-Government and pro-China persons who make 
recommendations on the appointment and reappointment of 
judges.  As noted above (Section 1.e.), reporters and human 
rights advocates have expressed concern that the person who 
filed the complaint in a current case against a reporter also 
sits on the panel which will recommend tenure for the judge 
deciding the case.

There are signs that constraints on academic freedom of speech 
are beginning to emerge.  The participant list for an academic 
conference on public administration held in Macau in 1994 was 
submitted in advance to the New China News Agency (NCNA) office 
in Macau for approval.  Some academics acknowledge that they 
avoid research on controversial topics which might entail 
criticism of China.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Government respects legal guarantees of these freedoms.  
Although it restricts demonstrations to a limited number of 
"approved locations" with sufficient space to accommodate the 
crowds and continues to ban any protests within 30 meters of 
government buildings, the list of approved sites includes the 
square in front of city hall and other central city locations.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Members of all religions practice their faiths freely.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country.  Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

There are no restrictions on movement within the enclave;  
emigration and foreign travel are unlimited.  The Government 
reports that about 105,000 of Macau's 400,000 inhabitants have 
the right of abode in Portugal.

The Government's official policy since 1982 has been to refuse 
asylum to all Vietnamese boat people arriving in Macau waters.  
With the approach of Macau's and Hong Kong's reversion to 
China, Vietnamese boat people prefer to travel further north to 
Japan and Korea.  Only three or four boat people remain in 
Macau.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Citizens have a limited ability to change their government.  In 
a by-election in the summer of 1992, six members were added to 
the Legislative Assembly (two appointed, two elected, two 
indirectly elected through limited membership organizations 
recognized by the Government).  The 23-member Legislative 
Assembly is composed of 8 members elected in universal direct 
elections; 8 indirectly elected by local community interests; 
and 7 appointed by the Governor.  The Consultative Council, an 
advisory group to the Governor composed of elected and 
appointed members, also provides some measure of popular 
representation.  By tradition, the Government also consults 
informally on a regular basis with local business and cultural 
leaders.

Some independent political candidates charge that the Macau 
Government unfairly assists progovernment candidates in 
elections to the Legislative Assembly.  Government funds 
allocated to neighborhood associations are used to pay for free 
meals and gifts to win voter support for progovernment 
candidates.  Similar treatment is not extended to candidates 
who are critical of the Government or China.

Although women traditionally have played a minor role in local 
political life, they increasingly are being found in senior 
positions throughout the administration.  The Legislative 
Assembly has three female members including the President of 
the Assembly, which is the second most senior position.  The 
Under Secretary for Health and Social Affairs is a woman, and 
other high-level positions in administrative ministries, 
including education and statistics, are filled by women.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Macau human rights organizations in 1994 claimed that the 
Government attempted to punish a public school teacher for her 
involvement in Amnesty International activities in Macau.  
Human rights advocates both in Macau and Lisbon strongly 
protested a government decision to discontinue her contract.  
Subsequently, Macau government officials notified the teacher 
that she could continue her employment with the Government.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

     Women

Women are becoming more active and visible in business and 
government, and some enjoy considerable influence and 
responsibility in these areas.  Anecdotal information indicates 
women in the private sector do not receive equal pay for equal 
work.  Statistical evidence on this issue is not available.

Cases of violence against women are not common.  For cases that 
are reported, Macau's criminal statutes prohibiting domestic 
violence are enforced and violators prosecuted.  Police and 
doctors report abuses to the Social Welfare Department, which 
investigates them.  If hospital treatment is required, a 
medical social worker counsels the victim and informs her about 
social welfare services.  Until their complaints are resolved, 
battered women may be placed in public housing, but no 
facilities are reserved especially for them.

     Children

Child abuse and exploitation are not widespread problems in 
Macau.  While the Government provides some funds for children's 
welfare and protection services, most such services are 
provided by nongovernmental entities such as churches and 
community organizations.  The Government has not promulgated 
any statutes specifically to protect the rights of children, 
relying on the general framework of civil and political rights 
legislation to protect all citizens.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The law guarantees freedom from discrimination.  Although 
Macau's governmental and legal systems place a premium on 
knowledge of the Portuguese language, which is spoken by less 
than 4 percent of the population, the official use of Chinese 
in the civil service is growing.

There is significant public pressure for the Government to 
speed up the process of making the civil service more 
representative of the population; however, the pace of 
localization has been very slow.  In January 1993, the 
Government gave the Chinese language official status and the 
same legal force as Portuguese.

     People with Disabilities

The extent to which physically disabled persons experience 
discrimination in employment, education, and the provision of 
state services is not known.  The Government gives little 
attention to the subject, and there is little funding for 
special programs aimed at helping the physically and mentally 
disabled gain better access to employment, education, and 
public facilities.  The Government has not mandated 
accessibility for the disabled legislatively or otherwise.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Macau labor law recognizes the right and freedom of all workers 
to form and join trade unions and of private sector unions to 
strike.  The Government neither impedes the formation of trade 
unions nor discriminates against union members.

Mainland Chinese interests heavily influence local trade union 
activities, including the selection of union leadership, and 
stress the importance of stability and minimum disruption of 
the work force.  Nearly all of Macau's 7,000 private sector 
union members belong to a pro-China labor confederation.  Many 
local observers claim that this organization is more interested 
in furthering the Chinese political agenda in Macau than in 
addressing classic trade union issues.  A few private sector 
unions and two of the four public sector unions are outside 
Chinese control.  Although the Portuguese Constitution 
guarantees workers the right to strike, labor leaders in Macau 
complain that there is no effective protection from retribution 
should they exercise this right.

Macau unions may freely form federations and affiliate with 
international bodies.  Three civil service unions are 
affiliated with the major non-Communist Portuguese union 
confederation.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Unions tend to resemble local traditional neighborhood 
associations, promoting social and cultural activities rather 
than issues relating to the workplace.  Local customs, 
moreover, normally favor employment without the benefit of 
written labor contracts--except in the case of labor from 
China.  Unions traditionally have not attempted to engage in 
collective bargaining.  Portuguese laws protecting collective 
bargaining apply to Macau and the Government does not impede or 
discourage it.  No rules apply to the setting of wages and no 
minimum wage exists for local or foreign workers.

However, a significant amount of the total work force 
(approximately 16 percent) is composed of laborers from China 
and other countries who fill both blue- and white-collar 
positions.  These workers often work for less than half the 
wages paid to a Macau resident performing the same job, live in 
controlled dormitories, work 10 to 12 hours a day, and owe 
large sums of money to the labor importing company for the 
purchase of their job.  The high percentage of imported labor 
erodes the bargaining power of local residents to improve 
working conditions and increase wages.  The total number of 
imported laborers is 28,000, out of a total employed work force 
of approximately 171,000.  There are no government mechanisms 
to prevent voluntary negotiations.

The law prohibits antiunion discrimination and there were no 
complaints of it in 1994.

There are no export processing zones; all of Macau is a free 
port.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Compulsory labor is illegal and does not exist.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The law forbids minors under the age of 15 to work--except in 
businesses operated by their families.  The Macau Labor 
Department which enforces this law refers offending employers 
to the judicial authorities for prosecution.  The Labor 
Department claims that the incidence of child labor has 
declined radically since effective enforcement began in 1985.  
Throughout 1993 and up to October 1994, the Macau courts 
received no complaints of child labor violations.  School 
attendance in Macau is not compulsory.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

In the absence of any statutory minimum wage or publicly 
administered social security programs, some large companies 
have provided private welfare and security packages.  Calls for 
labor reform, medical insurance, a social security system, and 
increases in employee compensation figure regularly in 
political campaign platforms.  To offset a current labor 
shortage, the Government allows the importation of labor from 
China and other countries under contract, while at the same 
time imposing heavy fines on employers harboring illegal 
immigrants.

Labor legislation provides for a 48-hour workweek, an 8-hour 
workday, overtime, annual leave, medical and maternity care, 
and employee compensation insurance.  Although Article 17 of 
Macau's labor law provides a 24-hour rest period for every 7 
days of work, worker representatives report that workers 
frequently agree to work overtime to compensate for low wages.  
The Department of Labor provides assistance and legal advice to 
workers on request, but government enforcement of labor laws is 
lax because of limited resources.  According to government 
statistics for 1993, 32.7 percent of the work force worked
7 days per week.

The Department of Labor enforces laws on occupational safety 
and health.  According to the Government, 625 infractions of 
occupational safety and health laws had occurred up to 
October.  This number represents approximately a 50 percent 
decrease from the previous year.  Failure to correct 
infractions leads to government prosecution.  Although a recent 
law states that employers should provide safe working 
conditions, no guarantee exists to protect employees' right to 
continued employment if they refuse to work under dangerous 
conditions.

(###)

[end of document]

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