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Chinese Indonesians in Post-Suharto IndonesiaDemocratisation and Ethnic Minorities$
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Wu-Ling Chong

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9789888455997

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888455997.001.0001

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A Short History of the Ethnic Chinese in Indonesia

A Short History of the Ethnic Chinese in Indonesia

Creating a ‘Pariah’ Class*

(p.25) 2 A Short History of the Ethnic Chinese in Indonesia
Chinese Indonesians in Post-Suharto Indonesia

Wu-Ling Chong

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter explores the origins of the ambivalent position of ethnic Chinese in Indonesia. Historically, the Chinese have their ancestral roots in China and do not have particular regions in Indonesia to identify with. During the Dutch period, the colonial regime’s divide-and-rule policy, the granting of economic privileges to the Chinese, and subsequently the emergence of nationalist sentiments oriented towards China in early twentieth-century Dutch East Indies effectively prevented the Chinese from integrating into the wider indigenous population. The Chinese therefore began to be perceived as an alien minority associated with various negative attributes, occupying an ambivalent position in Indonesian society.

Keywords:   Chinese Indonesians, Dutch East Indies, Sukarno era, Suharto era, divide-and-rule, assimilation policies, ‘pariah’ class

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