ts’ung‑pao was the first Chinese newspaper with a bilingual Portuguese counterpart published in Macao. Its inaugural editorial asserted that having a dedicated newspaper of its own was crucial for a commercial port like Macao in order to promote business and trade at a time (as it was then) when the economy was in decline. Moreover, Chiang‑hai ts’ung‑pao would act as a communication liaison between Macao’s Portuguese government and its Chinese community by translating and publishing newly‑released laws and policies. It would also strive to promote justice and equality and provide a sounding board upon which Chinese residents could voice concerns. Lastly, the publication aspired to sociocultural influences – promoting contemporary literature to enlighten the younger generation. Judging from the news stories that Chiang ‑hai ts’ung‑pao published, the paper did indeed accomplish its mission. Over its six‑year run, it released a substantial volume of local, regional, national and even international news every week. Each issue was prefaced with an editorial by Chiang‑hai ts’ung‑pao’s editor‑in‑chief as well as the Chinese translation of Echo Macaense’s Portuguese editorial. Letters from readers were published as was commentary on current events. There were regular columns detailing shipping news, the price of goods and advertisements of
local business. The paper also translated and printed new legislation and policies that were released in the Government Gazette. Chiang‑hai ts’ung‑pao was the first newspaper in the history of Macao to provide a direct channel for the Chinese community to comprehend Portuguese governance versus that of nearby mainland China.
THE END OF THE PROJECT
Echo Macaense‘s final issue never provided a transparent explanation for its discontinuation after only six years in print, but it likely had to do with a libel case involving editor ‑in ‑chief Wang Zhenqing (王真慶), also known as Wang Mengqin (王孟琴). Wang, who used his pen name when writing for the newspaper, was known as Qián zhōngwèi wèishēng（黔中味味生) to his readers. Having published more than one article disparaging Governor Jose Maria de Sousa Horta e Costa in November of 1895, he was jailed for three days in early December 1895. By the end of its print run, Echo Macaense had published a total of 125 issues, although the only known “complete” collection contains 69 issues. With the exception of the 1st, 20th, 23rd and 24th issues published in 1893, the issues that remain were mostly published after September 1894.
This article is part of a project jointly undertaken by Chinese researcher Agnes Lam (University of Macau) and Portuguese researcher Cátia Miriam Costa (ISCTE‑ Instituto Universitário de Lisboa). It aims to explore the history of the press in Macao, China and Portugal.