Macau scholars are breathing a big sigh of relief: On 27 June, China’s National People’s Congress passed a law that gives Macau jurisdiction over the University of Macau’s (UM’s) proposed new campus in mainland China. UM faculty and students had worried that if the new campus were run under mainland rules, they would lose academic freedoms and an open social milieu that Macau residents enjoy and most Chinese do not: unfettered Internet access, for instance, and a legal system that excludes capital punishment.
The new UM campus on Guangdong Province’s Hengqin Island near Macau will give the university sorely needed elbow room: It will be 1.09 square kilometers in area (the present campus is 0.05 square kilometers) and will expand the student body from 6600 students to 10,000, including 7000 undergrads. UM commuters will not have to pass through immigration controls to reach the new campus, expected to open in 2012. “Everything in our plan was blessed,” says Zhao Wei, UM’s rector.