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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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PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2022. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use.date: 19 May 2022

Opening Up the Chinese Socio-cultural Sphere

Opening Up the Chinese Socio-cultural Sphere

The Ambivalence of Increasing Visibility*

4 Opening Up the Chinese Socio-cultural Sphere
Chinese Indonesians in Post-Suharto Indonesia

Wu-Ling Chong

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter examines the opening up of the Chinese socio-cultural sphere in post-Suharto Medan and Surabaya. Chinese Indonesians who strongly support Chinese ethnic and cultural identities have made use of the more liberal environment to establish Chinese-based organisations and Chinese-language newspapers. In general, these organisations and newspapers have made use of intra-ethnic linkages to safeguard Chinese ethnic and cultural identities, thus contributing to multiculturalism in post-Suharto Indonesia. The rise of China as an economic power has also prompted leaders of some Chinese organisations to utilise their intra-ethnic linkages and social networks in China to assist local governments in establishing cultural and business connections with China. Many indigenous Indonesians, however, perceive that the active role of Chinese organisations in promoting Chinese culture indicates an insistence upon separateness. At the same time, there are Chinese Indonesians who favour the integration of the Chinese into the wider Indonesian society and who have established non-ethnic-based socio-cultural organisations to promote cross-ethnic understanding and solidarity. On the whole, however, the socio-cultural activities and endeavours of Chinese organisations and Chinese-language newspapers have reproduced and perpetuated stereotypes of the Chinese as insular, opportunistic, and oriented towards China instead of Indonesia.

Keywords:   post-Suharto Indonesia, Medan, Surabaya, Chinese organisations, Chinese-language newspapers

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