1999 年12 月20 日起，澳門成為中華人民共和國的特別行政區，澳門特區的憲制文件《澳門特別行政區基本法》同時開始實施。《澳門特別行政區基本法》不但規定澳門特區實行的制度，也訂明 1999 年後50 年內的管治框架。
Macao became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China on 20 December 1999. Its constitutional document, the Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR), came into force on the same day. The Basic Law stipulates the system to be practised in Macao, and lays down the political and administrative framework of the MSAR for 50 years from 1999.
The systems and policies of the MSAR – including its social and economic systems; safeguards for the fundamental rights and freedoms of its residents; the executive, legislature and judiciary; and Government policies – are all based on the provisions of the Basic Law.
The principles of “One country, two systems”, “Macao people governing Macao” and “a high degree of autonomy” have passed their initial tests with flying colours, and are now broadly recognised in Macao and infused into its social and political culture.
The principle of “Macao people ruling Macao” means that the people of Macao govern Macao. The Chief Executive, principal officials, members of the Executive Council and the Legislative Assembly, the President of the Court of Final Appeal and the Procurator-General of the MSAR must be permanent residents of the Region. Some of these posts can only be assumed by Chinese citizens who are also permanent residents in Macao.
A high degree of autonomy means that the National People’s Congress (NPC) of China authorises the MSAR to exercise a high degree of autonomy in line with the Basic Law, and the Central People’s Government will not interfere in the affairs that fall within the scope of autonomy of the MSAR. The high degree of autonomy to be exercised by the MSAR includes the administrative power, legislative power and independent judicial power, which included the power of final adjudication. But a high degree of autonomy does not mean complete autonomy. To safeguard China’s unification and uphold state sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Central People’s Government retains necessary power over the MSAR. For instance, the Central People’s Government shall be responsible for the foreign affairs and defence relating to the MSAR.
The Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region is the executive authority of the MSAR. The Chief Executive is the head of the Government, and general secretariats, directorates of services, departments and divisions are established in the MSAR Government. The principal officials of Macao shall be Chinese citizens who are permanent residents of the region and have ordinarily resided in Macao for a continuous period of not less than fifteen years.
The MSAR Government is responsible for formulating and implementing policies; conducting administrative affairs; conducting external affairs as authorised by the Central People’s Government under the Basic Law; drawing up and introducing budgets and final accounts; introducing bills and motions and drafting administrative regulations; and designating officials to sit in on the meetings of the Legislative Assembly to hear opinions or to speak on behalf of the Government.
The MSAR Government must abide by the law and be accountable to the Legislative Assembly: it shall implement laws passed by the Legislative Assembly and those already in force; it shall present regular policy addresses to the Legislative Assembly; and it shall answer questions raised by members of the Legislative Assembly.