China approves new campus for Macau University on leased land on Hengqin Island

29 June 2009

Macau, China, 29 June – The Permanent Commission of the People’s National Assembly has approved the lease of a square kilometre of land on the Island of Hengqin to Macau to set up the future campus of Macau University there, in a project due for conclusion in 2012.

The announcement of Beijing’s approval was made Saturday in Macau by Chief Executive Edmund Ho, and by the Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Lau Si Lo, who noted that Macau would have jurisdiction over the land as soon as building work on the university was concluded, and that access to the campus would be via an underwater tunnel from Macau without border control.

“The People’s National Assembly has delegated powers to the government of Macau to have jurisdiction according to Macau legislation, as a way of ensuring that the university’s current management autonomy is maintained, which effectively translates as a great gift from the central government, which is representative of the prestige of the ‘one country, two systems,’ principle,” said Ho.

Jurisdiction over the land, which will be leased to Macau for a period of 40 years, was one of the main issues related to the installation of the future campus of Macau University in China as both recognition of courses and other functions, such as Internet access, are different in China.

Work on the future campus is expected to cost between 5 billion and 6 billion patacas (between US$630 million and US$750 million), is due to begin at the end of 2009 and expected to be concluded within three years, the MacauNews news agency reported.

With the new complex, the University will boost its current capacity of 6,000 students to 10,000 students and, as well as halls of residence and entertainment areas, there will be room for eight faculties – as compared to five currently – and for several scientific research centres.

The area leased to Macau is currently under the jurisdiction of the Chinese municipality of Zhuhai.

Hengqin Island is located close to the areas of reclaimed land between the islands of Taipa and Coloane in Macau, and various development plans are being considered for it, both by the Chinese authorities and together with Macau. (macauhub)