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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

Electoral Politics and the Chinese in Post-Suharto Indonesia

Electoral Politics and the Chinese in Post-Suharto Indonesia

(p.120) 6 Electoral Politics and the Chinese in Post-Suharto Indonesia*
Chinese Indonesians in Post-Suharto Indonesia

Wu-Ling Chong

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter focuses on the involvement of Chinese Indonesians in electoral politics in post-Suharto Medan and Surabaya and how this intersects with their stereotypical position as businesspeople. The opening up of a democratic environment in post-Suharto Indonesia has prompted many Chinese Indonesians to get involved in electoral politics. Some of them become electoral candidates in order to push for reform and positive changes in Indonesia and reject approaches of support for their campaigns in return for political and business favours. But there are also those who become actively involved in politics with the aim of gaining political protection for their business instead of fighting for the interests of the general public. Ironically, the latter often have a higher chance of getting elected, because of the increased cost of campaigning in direct elections introduced during the democratisation process. Their own wealth, or the willingness to accept support from corrupt businesspeople, often Chinese, ensures enough funds to obtain party support and to bribe voters. In this way, Chinese businesspeople continue to establish corrupt and patrimonial relationships with aspiring politicians in exchange for political favours for their business.

Keywords:   post-Suharto Indonesia, Medan, Surabaya, electoral politics, Chinese Indonesian politicians

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