Peranakan Chinese Politics in Indonesia

Peranakan Chinese Politics in Indonesia

Peranakan Chinese Politics in Indonesia

Peranakan Chinese Politics in Indonesia

Excerpt

This paper describes the way in which changes in Indonesian politics since the revolution have affected the Chinese in Indonesia, in particular, the so-called peranakans. It devotes attention to the development of Baperki, a peranakan community organization, and to the question of the citizenship of the Indonesian Chinese, In the period since 1960, a number of young peranakans have been systematically propagating the idea of assimilation; this paper also attempts to evaluate the prospects for assimilation against the background of both Indonesian and Chinese attitudes.

Historical patterns of Chinese settlement

Chinese had been coming to Indonesia long before the Europeans arrived in the archipelago. In fact, when the first Europeans arrived, there were already Chinese trading establishments in some of Java’s ports, Despite centuries of residence in the islands, however, the Chinese rarely became part of the Indonesian community.

For one thing, contact between the two ethnic groups, apart from business transactions, was limited. Originally the resident Chinese community lived in a section of the port city close to the harbor. Their situation was similar to that of alien traders residing in other Asian cities: the Europeans in Canton before 1839 were confined to a special quarter, as were the Dutch in their earliest stay in Bantam. The remains of this pattern of settlement still persist in Java, and for the period from 1835 to 1919 the Dutch colonial government restricted the Chinese to . . .

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