Basic Data


Official Country Name: Macau
Region (Map name): East & South Asia
Population: 445,594
Language(s): Portuguese, Chinese (Cantonese)
Literacy rate: 90%

Macau, a peninsula bordering China and the South China Sea, was colonized by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century, becoming the first European settlement in the Far East. In 1987 through an agreement with Portugal and China, Macau became a special administrative region of China. Despite China's socialist system, Macau enjoys a high degree of autonomy. The president of China serves as the chief of state, but the local government is run by a chief executive who presides over a 23-seat, unicameral Legislative Council. The population of Macau is approximately 445,000, and the literacy rate is 90 percent. National languages are Portuguese and Cantonese, but the majority of the population speaks Cantonese. Mainstays of the economy are tourism—especially gambling— textiles and fireworks.

Although the press in Macau is private, it is not out-spoken, especially concerning the Chinese capital of Beijing, crime syndicates, and activities that challenge the political and business status quo. The government owns controlling interests in radio and television stations. The largest newspaper is the Chinese-language daily Macao Daily News, which boasts an average circulation of 50,000 and appears online. Other dailies printing in Chinese are Ou Mun lat Pou, Journal Si Man, Jornal Va Kio, Tai Chung, Journal Cheng Pou, and Seng Pou. Only Va Kio is available online. There are five main Chinese-language weeklies. Son Pro and Jornal Si-Si appear on Saturday, Jornal O Puso de Macau and Observato'rio deMacau publish on Friday, and Semanario Recreativo deMacau prints on Wednesday. The two Portuguese-language dailies are Jornal Tribuna de Macau and Macau Hoje. Both print Monday through Saturday only and are available online. Portuguese weeklies include O Clarim and Ponto Final, both of which appear on Friday. Ponto Final is available online.

There are two FM stations in Macau broadcasting to 160,000 radios. There are 49,000 televisions and one television station. There is one Internet service provider.


The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). "Macau." World Fact Book 2001. Available from .

"Country Profile." , 2002. Available from .

"Macau." Freedom House, 2000. Available from .

Macau Daily News, (1998). Available from .

Jenny B. Davis

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