segunda-feira, 21 de dezembro de 2009

Explicações por dar

We must be told why Macau shut the door

South China Morning Post
December 21, 2009

Change is to be expected whenever a new government takes office. Macau's chief executive, Dr Fernando Chui Sai-on, did not disappoint at his inauguration yesterday, pledging policies centred on clean governance and transparency. Such words offer hope after scandals under the previous administration. But hope needs to be fed by action, and the barring of more journalists and political observers from the special administrative region is not an auspicious way to begin.

Two Hong Kong reporters, one on assignment to cover the ceremony, were denied entry by immigration officers on Saturday. They were told they posed a threat to public security - the same unfathomable reason a photographer from this newspaper was in February twice prevented from covering the trial of disgraced former secretary for transport and public works Ao Man-long. More than a dozen pro-democracy activists were also turned back on Saturday. Barring from Macau people anxious to test the openness and transparency Chui spoke of represents not change, but continuation of flawed ways.

The city's Basic Law guarantees freedom of the press and of movement. These are essential if Macau is to grow socially and politically. Chui's promises are hollow without them.

Macau has put much effort into policing the gambling industry to improve its sometimes seedy image. Ao's jailing for corruption illustrates the magnitude of the problem. Journalists have a role to play in bringing to light such issues, and in helping build confidence that the city is serious about tackling the spectre of corruption. Yet the barring of Hong Kong reporters and people eager for the growth of democratic government in China hardens perceptions that authorities have little time for rights and freedoms - all necessary for equitable, peaceful and orderly development.

Chui has promised to usher in a new era for Macau. The preventing of people who can help him bring that about from attending the inauguration of his government augurs poorly. He has to prove he means what he says. Publicly and clearly explaining why the journalists and activists were barred is a sound starting point.

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