Macau (2009)/ The underground ruler – the central-controlled utilitarian facilities

Former Chief Executive of the Macau Special Administrative Region Edmund Ho expressed “The Central government would propose measures to ensure that the new campus would remain the significance of the University of Macau in the Hengqin development plan”[2]. The Central government elaborated that the new university campus is going to be the continuation of the “one country two systems” which promised Macau to have autonomy to enforce Macau law in the leased area[2].

However, the so-called “autonomy” happened only on the surface. According to the plan, there would be a massive tunnel under the campus which extends over 33km containing all the utility pipes and cables needed for development. All the resources including electricity, heat, water, communications and wastes from the entire hengqin Island are controlled centrally. The three cables – namely the “Public Security”, “Military Police” and “Island Surveillance” carry the signal needed for the security forces to keep an eye on everything[3].

The underground network of utilitarian facilities within a city has always been forgotten by the users on ground. However, the utility pipes are just as important as the veins inside human body. Once the veins were cut-out, the host can no longer live. This has been a subtle but strong move done by the Central government, declaring the ultimate control power over cities in nation by its underground Great Wall.

A look at Zhuhai’s underground “artery. Accessed Dec 28, 2018.


[2]Xia, Quan and Xiong, Jie. 2009. “Reflections on the establishment of Higher Education zone in Hengqin.” Journal of Higher Education, 2009.

[3]The Economist. 2017. “Macau writ large; Hengqin.” The Economist – Special Report, Apr 8, 2017.

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