The Chinese government has appointed a new representative in Macau, the only place in China where casinos are permitted. The government said in a written announcement issued on Friday that the new director of its Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macau Special Administrative Region is Fu Ziying.
The statement mentioned Mr Fu had been Chinese international trade representative and vice-minister of commerce since March last year, having served for many years in the government department that evolved into the present Ministry of Commerce.
The South China Morning Post newspaper reported on Friday that the appointment of the 61-year-old Mr Fu was regarded as an effort to strengthen the economic relationship between China and Portuguese-speaking countries – in which Macau acts as the go-between – even as a trade war between the United States and China is in progress.
The newspaper report cited observers as saying the appointment would also help Macau diversify its economy. “Beijing has always wanted Macau to reduce its reliance on the gaming industry, and become a commerce and trade platform,” Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies vice-chairman Lau Siu Kai was quoted as saying. “This is especially important amid the trade war, as the U.S. seeks to contain China.”
A number of commentators have mentioned that the trade war could cause complications for Macau’s casino licensing process when current rights – that involve several U.S-based firms – expire in either 2020 or 2022.
The post of Beijing’s representative in Macau had been vacant since Mr Fu’s predecessor Zheng Xiaosong died in October in a fall from a building in the city, about a year into the role. Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in Beijing had said Mr Zheng had “suffered from depression”.
In a subsequent report published on Saturday, the South China Morning Post said the Chinese government had announced that Feng Wei had been relieved of the post of deputy director of its Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in Beijing, and had been replaced by Deng Zhonghua. Mr Deng is said to be experienced in anti-corruption efforts within the Communist Party.
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Amount that each Macau casino operator paid for the circa six-month extension of their respective contract