Chinese Indonesians (
Chinese Indonesian people are diverse in their origins, timing and circumstances of immigration to Indonesia, and level of ties to
Broadly speaking, there were three waves of immigration of ethnic Chinese to Southeast Asia in general and Indonesia in particular. The first wave was spurred by trading activities dating back to the time of
Chinese Indonesians whose ancestors immigrated in the first and second waves, and have thus become creolised or khiau-seng (in
Most Chinese who migrated to Indonesia came as traders or labourers. Colonial policies made it difficult for Chinese to acquire land, and the only region with a significant Chinese farmer population was West Kalimantan. The largest populations of Chinese Indonesians today are in the cities of
There was little direct Chinese involvement in what is now Indonesia before the 15th century. Trade between China and the Indonesian archipelago was in the hands of Indonesians, rather than Chinese.[disputed] The standard word for a Chinese trading vessel,
Ironically, though most of the present Chinese Indonesians are not
Since the voyages of Zheng He, many Chinese considered the region as an attractive trading partner.
Dutch colonial era
Favored position under the Dutch
The largest waves of Chinese migration happened during early to middle
Race relations between the Chinese Indonesians and native Indonesians (pribumi) have always been problematic, and remain so up to the present. Some commentators trace this to the Dutch era when
As such, the Dutch were among the early practitioners of a classic colonial strategy practiced in many other times and places by displacing and destroying native systems of authority through favoring specific ethnic or religious minorities. They become props of colonial rule and a buffer between itself and the majority indigenous population. (France and Britain would eventually use the local
Having the favor of the Dutch and being considered by "intelligent, diligent, and capable of overseeing Dutch plantations", many ethnic Chinese supported colonial rule. Indeed, in the early years of the
As a reward, Souw was made the first Kapitein der Chinezen of Batavia in 1619. His successors and later, the Majoors der Chinezen, were given landed fiefdoms and the Dutch-invented hereditary title of Sia by the colonial government.
Among them, these aristocratic
Both the Dutch and the Chinese participated in the trade of thousands of Javanese slaves. Javanese considered problematic were shipped off to Chinese plantations in Sumatra.
Massacre of 1740
In their position, the Chinese often did not receive friendly attitudes from the Dutch. In the early decades of the 18th century, tensions began to build. In some ways, it resulted from the fact that having settled in and around Batavia ever since its foundation, the Chinese had come to be a major element in its economic life.
Chinese workers were greatly involved in building Batavia and cultivating the adjacent agricultural areas. And Chinese traders, who were arriving in growing numbers, made the
The VOC came to make most of its profits from trade among different Asian destinations rather than back to the Netherlands themselves - and it was naturally the Chinese traders residing in Batavia who had the best contacts in China.
Dutch and Chinese needed each other - which in theory should have ensured a good relationship. But an element among the Dutch colonists came to increasingly resent the situation of the Chinese being their effective social equals and economic rivals. The Chinese traders, like the Dutch ones, were tax-payers - which was an economic burden but also conferred considerable privileges (a phenomenon comparable to the later resentment of French settlers in
What set off a cataclysm of hatred and bloodshed was not only cliquish Chinese trading but the other major branch of their economic activity on Java: agricultural work carried out by poor Chinese
The importation of ever more coolies caused an enormous increase in the Chinese population in the VOC-ruled area of Batavia and its environs, and they came to constitute nearly half of the total population just before 1740. Already in 1690, the colonial authorities had imposed severe limitations on further immigration from China. This did not have, however, the effect of stopping the importation of more coolies. Rather, they continued to be imported through the payment of bribes to the authorities, and were all the more dependent on their employers (usually Chinese themselves) and susceptible to lucrative exploitation.
From about 1720 the sugar market went through a deepening crisis, with the markets in Europe becoming saturated, and the plantations of Java facing sharp competition from cheaper
Belatedly, at July, 1740 the colonial authorities, c.q.
There is no evidence that the better off Chinese living inside the walled area of Batavia, some five thousand in number, were planning to join the rebellious coolies outside. However, many of the Dutch inhabitants did have such suspicions. On October 9, 1740, the order was issued to search the houses of all the Chinese residents in Batavia. This soon degenerated into an all-out, three-day long massacre - with Chinese being massacred in their homes, and earlier captured Chinese being killed out of hand in prisons and hospitals.
A preacher fanned the flames from the pulpit, declaring that the killing of Chinese was "God's Will", and the colonial government itself reportedly posted a bounty for decapitated Chinese heads. The number of victims in these three days is variously estimated at between five thousand and ten thousand. The name Kali Angke (
Afterwards, the "restoration of order" was proclaimed, with surviving Chinese henceforth
Following the massacre, the Dutch Governor-General
The affair continued to crop up in later periods, especially in times of tension.
Continued Immigration and division into three sub-communities
Even such bloody events did not put an end to the continued Chinese emigration to the Indies, where economic opportunities not available in China itself outweighed the dangers of discrimination or persecution.
Earlier Chinese immigrants had much closer ties toward mainland China. This was manifested in their strong desire to return home and consideration of the Indies as yet another temporary settlement.
Attitudes started changing from the middle 18th century when the
Many of them, however, found the Indies an increasingly attractive abode. The hostile and oppressive
Most, however, identified themselves as Dutchmen, embraced Christianity, generally enjoyed higher education and social status, and mimicking Western lifestyles considered themselves the more refined. They got to be called Qiao Sheng (literally, "foreign-born"). Beginning in the late 19th century, most of the Dutch-invented aristocratic "Sia" families underwent rapid
Those who still maintained ties toward China, whose main belief was
These three groups of Chinese Indonesians had starkly different nationalistic views and tendencies. At the time
Changing Dutch policies and decline of the Sia aristocracy
By the 1920s and 1930s, the long standing hold over the economy of the old Sia families, Qiao Sheng par excellence, was systematically destroyed by the very Dutch colonial government they supported . Following
It was the Chinese Sias, more than the native aristocracy, who suffered from this measure. The native aristocracy did not own much land, due to the fact that the Dutch had generations prior forcibly confiscated and split the former Kingdom of Majapahit into four. The Dutch, to remedy the unfavourabale and indeed racist treatment of the natives, initiated a program of civil service employment for suitably pliable upper middle-class semi-aristocratic families, known as priyayi.
Dutch compulsory acquisition of Peranakan fiefdoms destroyed many of the older Chinese landowning families. While some successfully managed to get into business, most former Sias—their title becoming obsolete by the 1940s—were swamped in economic power by Totok Chinese. This latter group remains, even today, the most powerful economic group in Indonesia.
Concomittant with the decline of the feudal-type Sias, Chinese Indonesians underwent a process of
Nationalism and revolution (1900–1945)
Reflections of Chinese mainland politics
Later waves of migrants still maintained ties to China, mainly by supporting Chinese nationalistic movements to overthrow the Qing dynasty. Although the support was mainly monetary, some Chinese Indonesians were actively involved in the inside politics, especially so during the
Sympathy for Indonesian nationalism
At the turn of the 20th century, however, Cina Babass were increasingly assimilated into Indonesian culture. Younger generations of Cina Totoks still tried to maintain ties with China.
Although the Dutch had given the Chinese Indonesians a special status, they were becoming increasingly oppressive and discriminative against all Chinese Indonesians. So, all three groups - Qiao Shengs, Cina Babas, and Cina Totoks - were more and more cooperative toward the Indonesian national movement, especially in providing monetary support.
This comment is disputed as much documentary evidence amply illustrates overwhelming Chinese support for Dutch paramilitary attempts to crush the Independence movement thereby incurring long-standing enmity of the Indonesian native.
More and more Chinese Indonesians were involved in Indonesian politics. Cina Totoks typically set up specific Chinese political parties which aimed at an Indonesia-China alliance and established newspapers. Cina Babas and Qiao Shengs typically joined nationalist parties jointly with pribumis. Some of them, serving as officers in the Dutch Army and later the Japanese one, but never used their positions to help the national movement.
They were also among the pioneers of Indonesian newspapers. In their fledgling publishing companies, they published their own political ideas along with contributions from other Indonesian writers. In November 1928, the Chinese weekly
Chinese Indonesians were active in supporting the independence movement during the 1940s Japanese occupation, when all but the Overseas Chinese Association (
Indonesian National Revolution
Post-independence unrest (1945–1965)
During the 1945–1950
Following independence, the Japanese and Dutch companies were deserted. The new government sold the companies at very cheap prices, and Chinese Indonesians quickly assimilated these companies. However, many
Discrimination worsened as the economy became increasingly dominated by Chinese Indonesians. The pribumi decried the government's lackluster effort to provide a level playing field and sought even more aggressive predicaments. This further escalated the tension of the already uneasy relationship between pribumi and Chinese Indonesian, as pribumi always considered Chinese Indonesians as the agents of the colonials. The tendency of Chinese Indonesians to flock together in Pecinan or
In 1959, President
In addition, those who were considered as heroes of Indonesian independence, such as Siauw Giok Tjhan and Liem Koen Hian, were either brutally executed, exiled, or jailed. Those who protested were silently murdered. None of them were bestowed national hero status. It effectively discouraged any Chinese Indonesian of the time to dedicate their lives for Indonesia.
Assimilation into the New Order (1965–1998)
In the 1960s, many government regulations, such as
Political pressures in the 1970s and 1980s restricted the role of the Chinese Indonesian in politics, academics, and the military. As a result, they were thereafter constrained professionally to becoming entrepreneurs and professional managers in trade, manufacturing, and banking. In the 1970s, following the failed
Most Chinese Indonesians are not
Various government policies banned
These highly discriminatory laws are believed by some as a concerted government effort at
In 1998, preceding the fall of
Because of discrimination, most Chinese Indonesians were not politically active and could not lobby for legislation to protect their own interests, despite their economic affluence. The situation is different in neighboring
Despite laws and public opinion against the Chinese Indonesians, many have succeeded in fields other than business, most notably in the sport of
Reformasi and beyond (1998–present)
Early in the reformation era, the government focused on stabilizing the economy and security. Discrimination was still rampant. However, Chinese Indonesians gained courage to express themselves in limited ways, which were otherwise impossible in the Soeharto era for fear of his heavy-handed tactics. Unfortunately, there were still many officers loyal to Soeharto who enforced the discriminatory laws. It was not for the sake of ideology, but rather for their own benefits.
The teaching of
Chinese Indonesians also reentered the political scene. Economist
Chinese languages were banned from 1965 to 1994 in Indonesian television, but its use did not come until years later. In November 2000,
According to Citizenship Law 12 of 2006, the distinction between Indonesian natives (pribumi) and non-natives were abolished, and only the distinction between Indonesian nationals (Warga Negara Indonesia, WNI) and foreign national (Warga Negara Asing, WNA) remained. During Chinese New Year celebrations in 2007, President
Many Chinese Indonesian families left the country after the
Those who arrived in the
The economic activities and wealth of the Chinese community in Indonesia is very diverse; many are labourers and small-scale merchants, and others are businessmen. Most are identified as ethnic Chinese in official documents, but many are not, for a variety of reasons. In many parts of Indonesia, however, they are represented among the wealthier classes out of proportion with their small numbers.
According to a survey of corporations listed on the
Some, however, believe that this overestimates the influence of Chinese Indonesians on the economy. For example, despite being considered to be under control of Chinese Indonesians in research, the Salim Group is actually controlled by a group of five people:
Such simplifications fuel the
Some of the ethnic Chinese also speak
However, the presence of the Chinese language in Indonesia deserves special note. Unlike other local/ethnic languages ("bahasa daerah"), the use of Chinese was prohibited following the
According to the
Large numbers of Chinese began converting to
The Chinese Muslim Association of Indonesia (
Several organizations took advantage of reformasi policies and began working publicly to end racism and ethnic bias. Three organizations have been identified promoters of cultural and political equality post-Suharto:
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- "Correcting the myth about the dominance of ethnic Chinese in Indonesian business". BusinessWorld. 8 January 1999. http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/54b/085.html. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
- "Indonesia Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1998". Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 26 February 1999. http://www.fas.org/irp/world/indonesia/indonesia-1998.htm. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
- Johnston, Tim (3 March 2005). "Chinese diaspora: Indonesia". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/4312805.stm. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
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- "Jusuf Kalla: Perlakuan ke Kelompok Pengusaha Akan Dibedakan" (in Indonesian). . 12 October 2004. Archived from the original on 28 October 2004. http://web.archive.org/web/20041028081655/http://sinarharapan.co.id/berita/0410/12/sh01.html. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
- Landler, Mark (16 May 1998). "The Target Of Violence In a Time Of Wrath". The New York Times: p. A6. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/05/16/world/unrest-in-indonesia-the-chinese-the-target-of-violence-in-a-time-of-wrath.html. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
- Purdey, Jemma (1 February 2005). "Landmark Legal Decision May Open U.S. Border to Chinese from Indonesia". Global Politician. http://www.globalpolitician.com/2330-immigration. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
- Tjhin, Christine Susanna (3 September 2004). "Minority participation and democratization". The Jakarta Post. http://www.csis.or.id/scholars_opinion_view.asp?op_id=251&id=4&tab=1. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
- Tjhin, Christine Susanna (29 March 2004). "More Chinese Indonesians become actively engaged in politics". The Jakarta Post. http://www.csis.or.id/scholars_opinion_view.asp?op_id=145&id=4&tab=2. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
- Ong Hok Ham. "Riwayat Tionghoa Peranakan di Jawa (Story of Chinese Descendant in Java): A Collection of Ong Hok Ham's Articles in Star Weekly 1958-1960". Komunitas Bambu. 2005
- Protests of some Indonesian Chinese Organizations in the US towards racist remark of VP Kalla.
- Khoon Choy, Lee; A Fragile Nation: The Indonesian Crisis (Chapter 9).
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- Graaf, H. J. de (Hermanus Johannes), 1899-(?), "Chinese Muslims in Java in the 15th and 16th centuries : the Malay Annals of Semarang and Cerbon / translated and provided with comments by H.J. de Graaf and Th. G.Th. Pigeaud; edited by M.C. Ricklefs. Publisher: [Melbourne] : Monash University, 1984. Description: xiii, 221 p. : folded map ; 21 cm. ISBN 0867464194 : Series: Monash papers on Southeast Asia ; no. 12
- Kusuma,RMAB, "Lahirnya UUD 1945".Publisher:Badan Penerbit Fakultas Hukum Universitas Indonesia, 2004. ISBN 979-8972-28-7
- Perhimpunan Indonesia Tionghoa (INTI), official website of the Chinese Indonesian Association.
- Solidaritas Nusa Bangsa
- Chinese Cultures & Traditions
- Gerakan Perjuangan Anti Diskriminasi (GANDI), The Indonesian Anti Discrimination Movement.
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