Close

Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Our global community of volunteers work hard every day to bring you the world's underreported stories -- but we can't do it without your help. Support our editors, technology, and advocacy campaigns with a donation to Global Voices!

Donate now

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

PHOTOS: 20,000 People Protest in Macau Against ‘Bill of Greed and Privilege’

Thousands of anti-greed bill protestors gathered at Tap Seac Square before the rally started. Photo from All About Macau Facebook page. Non-commercial use.

Thousands of anti-greed bill protestors gathered at Tap Seac Square before the rally started. Photo from All About Macau's Facebook page. Non-commercial use.

More than 20,000 Macau residents rallied on Sunday, 25 May, 2014, against a bill that would compensate high-ranking officials after they leave office and exempt the head of government from criminal liability during his or her term.

Macau, a special administrative region of China, has a population of about 500,000. Protesters constituted 4 percent of the total population, the largest demonstrations since the former Portuguese colony was handed over to China's control in 1999. The public outrage has surprised many, given opposition parties are rather weak in the casino city and major mainstream media outlets are pro-government mouthpieces and sponsored by the government.

The bill, which is expected to be passed on Tuesday, 27 May, 2014, was drafted by the Macau Secretary for Administration and Justice a month ago and was proposed without public consultation. It will grant the chief executive, as the head of government is called, immunity from criminal prosecution while in office. It also ensures that the outgoing chief executive, as well as his principal officials-designate, will continue receiving a monthly payment equivalent to 70 percent of his or her monthly salary. The secretary claimed that the bill is to attract business elites to join the government.

The selection of new chief executive will happen at the end of 2014, and after that major officials will also leave their positions. Many believe that the bill is tailor-made for outgoing Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on and top officials because they will be the ones to immediately enjoy the new privileges.

Even though the bill is highly controversial, the administration has been pushing the legislative council to pass it. The majority of lawmakers are either elected indirectly through functional groups or appointed by the chief executive.

To press the government to withdraw the bill, a group of concerned citizens called “Macau Conscience” organized the march against “the Bill of Greed and Privilege.”

Independent media outlet All About Macau asked one of the protesters on their Facebook group why she joined the rally:

市民林小姐認為特首在有可能臨離任的時候通過這個法案,是「打劫澳門市民」,根本是與民為敵;

Ms. Lam believes that the chief executive who will enjoy the outgoing compensation is “robbing Macau citizens” and making himself an enemy of the people.

Many expressed their anger through banners and placards while at the protest.

 A protest placard showing the Macau Chief Executive's face on a underworld bank note. The slogan on the placard is:  A monthly salary more than 200 thousand dollars [about 25 thousand US dollars] wanted out-going compensation? Impotent officials are out of their mind! Photo from All About Macau Facebook Page

A protester holds a placard showing the Macau chief executive's face on a fake bank note. The slogan on the placard reads: “A monthly salary more than 200,000 pataca [about 25,000 US dollars] wanted as outgoing compensation? Impotent officials are out of their mind!” Photo from All About Macau's Facebook page

Young people stand out and say no to the Bill of Greeds. Photo from All About Macau Facebook page. Non-commercial use.

Young people say no to the “Bill of Greed.” Photo from All About Macau's Facebook page. Non-commercial use.

Protestors stick  the face of Secretary for Administration and Justice, Florinda Chan Lai-man, onto a pig-shape placard to mock at her greed. Chan is the drafter of the bill. Photo from All About Macau's Facebook page. Non-commercial use.

Protestors stick the face of Secretary for Administration and Justice Florinda Chan Lai-man onto a pig-shaped placard. Chan drafted the bill. Photo from All About Macau's Facebook page. Non-commercial use.

A young man staged the PK body posture against  the Greed Bill in the protest. PK posture is an bodily expression of absurdity among youngster in East Asia.] Photo posted by Facebook user Ar B Cheong. Non-commercial use.

A young man assumes the so-called PK body position, otherwise known as planking, against the bill during the rally. The posture is meant to show absurdity and is used among youth in East Asia. Photo posted by Facebook user Ar B Cheong. Non-commercial use.

Soon after the rally, a number of pro-government lawmakers and executive councilors told the press that their would propose to the chair of the Legislative Council to form a committee to further review the bill. At the same time, organizer of the rally “Macau Conscience” said they would take further action if the legislature passes the bill on Tuesday.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site