MOSCOW, December 20 (Sputnik) — President Xi Jinping on Saturday urged Macau and Hong Kong special administrative regions to respect their unity with China, following pro-democracy campaigns in both regions earlier this year.
"We must both adhere to the 'one China' principle and respect the difference of the two systems… This is the only way leading to sound and steady progress," Xi said at the inauguration of Macau's Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai as quoted by the BBC.
The protests were triggered by China’s announcement that only candidates vetted by a standing committee could run for the region’s 2017 chief executive elections.
Meanwhile, Xi also spoke about Macau’s deteriorating economy which mainly relied on the gambling industry. Following Xi’s anti-corruption campaign launched when he came into power in 2012, steps were taken to stop Macau from being used for money laundering and capital flight. This caused a sharp drop in gambling revenues.
"Focus on building a global tourism and leisure centre… promote the Macanese economy's appropriate diversification and sustainable development,” Xi was quoted as saying by the news outlet.
The “one Country, two systems” principle allows for a certain degree of autonomy in the administrative regions as relates to retaining their own economies and political systems while China exercises sovereignty over the regions.