|Macau granted jurisdiction over University of Macau new campus on Hengqin island in Zhuhai|
Macau, China, 28 Jun - The 11th National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee of China passed a bill Saturday allowing the rental of a plot in the Hengqin island to built the new campus of University of Macau (UM), announced the Macau Chief Executive.
Edmund Ho Hau Wah said Saturday that "Macau would exercise jurisdiction over the new area upon the completion of the new campus, which is expected to ready within three years".
Accoding to a statement from the government "the plot of land in the Hengqion island ( presently under Zhuhai jurisdiction), would be rented to Macau until 19th December, 2049".
The new campus would be located on the eastern coast of Hengqin Island and to the south of the Lotus Bridge, just across a narrow water channel from Macau, said the Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Lau Si Io.
The campus will cover 1.0926 square kilometer, about 20 times larger than the current university campus in Macau.
"The cost of the new campus will be around 6 billion patacas (US$ 750 million) and construction work will start this year" said Lau Si Io.
The Secretary for Transport and Public Works also said that "a tunnel will be built under the channel to enable 24-hour commuting between the Hengqin campus and Macau, and people entering or leaving the campus will not be subjected to border control".
The Hengqin campus would serve as a ‘pilot project' as part of a wider collaboration between Guangdong and Macao in the joint development of Hengqin.
Macao had formed a working group to discuss with Guangdong and Zhuhai over the construction of the new campus.
The current campus would not be used for gaming and commercial purpose, and would serve for educational, academic, cultural, recreational and sports activities that are relevant to the Macao community, said Lau Si Io.
The new campus will accommodate 10,000 students.
With the new campus, UM will be able to increase the number of faculties from five to eight, introduce a residential college system with the construction of ten residential colleges and develop three open research bases, namely Information and Electronic, Medical and Pharmaceutical, and Energy and Environmental.
A UM press release said that "The Hengqin campus will be a green, efficient, and eco-friendly campus and the architectural style will mainly feature four unique Macau characteristics, namely "a blend of Chinese and western cultures".
Since 2002 UM, founded 28 years ago, has been engaged in seeking for a piece of land to build a new campus.
In February 2006, the Legislative Assembly of the Macau passed the Judicial Regime of the University of Macau, establishing a new legal status for UM.
In 2007 UM submitted several proposals fof land acquisition to the Macau Government, but none were considered feasible.
In the same year, UM formulated its 10-Year Development Strategy, which rendered the need for building a new campus more urgent.
In May 2007, the possibility of building a new campus on Hengqin Island was discussed for the first time at the Joint Meeting of the University Assembly and University Council presided over by the Chief Executive.
After a field visit to Hengqin Island, the University Council submitted a formal proposal regarding the construction of a new campus on Hengqin Island to the Macau Government in mid 2008.
In January 2009 following a visit paid to Macau by Xi Jinping, Vice President of the People's Republic of China, UM was informed of the possibility of building a campus on Hengqin Island and that this campus would serve as a "pilot project" as part of a wider collaboration between Guangdong and Macau in the joint development of Hengqin.
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