Friday, November 25, 2016

"Jakarta's violent identity crisis: behind the vilification of Chinese-Indonesians"

Chinese-Indonesians – estimated to make up 1% to 4% of the country’s 250 million people – have had an impact on Jakarta which is vastly disproportionate to their physical numbers. The economic success of the group’s small elite has led to repeated bouts of resentment, discrimination and even violent assaults.


Protesters, many of them hardline Islamists . . . have promised another rally for next Friday – and hope to beat their attendance of more than 100,000 people on 4 November.


In 1740, bitterness from native Indonesians and the Dutch to the growing wealth of a small portion of Chinese people led to open bigotry against the minority population, most of whom were extremely poor themselves.

In October that year, Chinese sugar mill workers finally revolted; the response was a pogrom in which nearly the entire population were killed.


Indonesia’s second president and dictator who ruled for three decades, Suharto, attempted to deal with the “Chinese problem” by forced assimilation under his New Order government, banning Chinese schools, books and languages.