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    Hundreds Protest in Macau on Handover Anniversary


    by NTDTelevision

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    Around a thousand Macau citizens held a protest on the 11th anniversary of the former Portuguese colony's return to China. They demanded democratic reform, an end to corruption and improvements to social welfare.

    About a thousand people marched through Macau's streets on Monday to mark its 11th anniversary under Chinese rule. They're urging the government to grant them more political freedom and fight corruption in the territory.

    A group called the New Macau Association marched in panda masks, a mocking reference to two pandas, Kaikai and Xinxin, recently given to Macau by mainland China.

    The protesters waved banners that demanded their right to vote and chanted slogans on subjects from workers rights to improvements to social welfare.

    The protest march ended at the government office where president of the New Macau Association handed over an open letter demanding universal suffrage by 2019.

    [Jason Chao, New Macau Association]:
    "We hope that the Macao government as well as... the central Chinese government will listen to Macao people's voice, to respect our views and start the consultation on the democratic reform as soon as possible."

    Chinese leaders have pledged better regulation of gambling in the territory, where the 15 billion U.S. dollar casino industry overtook that of Las Vegas in late 2006.

    Despite its casino industry boom, analysts say Macau is beset by corruption, organized criminal gangs and North Korean money laundering that could hamper its development.

    Macau returned to Chinese rule after being a Portuguese colony for 442 years.