Chapter 21 The borders of Macau in a geohistorical perspective: political dispute, (non)definition of limits and migratory phenomena in an original border-city
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We move again to the regional focus, this time towards Southeast Asia with the chapter on Macau (by Gomes Dias and Malheiros). The focus is put on the old colonial Portuguese territory within a historical perspective (from 1999). From its origins in the mid-16th century to the founding of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) in 1999, the definition of the land and sea boundaries of Macao has always been an issue, assuming a character that can be analysed in different dimensions. From the diplomatic point of view, the question of the boundaries of Macao remained a matter of dispute. In its political dimension, the option assumed was to maintain the status quo defined in the late nineteenth century as a way of preserving the economic and socio-cultural characteristics of the City. At the social level, it has maintained its role as a port of entry and passage for various migratory movements, including not only commuting between Mainland China and Macao, but also the reception of refugees, Portuguese and Chinese, a particularly relevant phenomenon in the twentieth century. The uniqueness of the chapter of the “Macau case”, in its historical perspective, makes it possible to understand today's reality, as a region with a special administrative status, preserving border control mechanisms and flexibility of labour mobility in a specific political and economic context, of progressive integration into the People's Republic of China.

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