Overview stories

01- The grave findings of my ancestor Kan Keng Tiong and the phenomenon of Mandarins in Dutch East Indies

02- The mass grave

03- Djakarta, Jalan Teuku Umar 15, the last house of H.H. Kan

04- The number on the yellow Universitas Indonesia jacket

05- The Amateur Orchestra of Djakarta

06- General Destruction Corps

07- The Chinese Tea Lords

08- The ancestoral altars of the Kan-Han-Tan clan

09- The coffin of great grandmother Thung Leng Nio as an example of a traditional Chinese coffin

10- Tan Goan Piauw and Thung Leng Nio

11- Villa Mei Ling is an historic building for Dutch India

12- Tan Tjoen Lee and Han Tek Nio-

13- Kan Keng Tjong overview

14- Desiree Tan (Hoei Nio)

15- Bommeltje

16- H.L.L.Kan and the opium and salt regie in Dutch India

17- Music in my family

18- Gedong Dalam a Paladio villa in Dutch East Indies

19- Ferry Tan's death and the failed cover-up of the s.s. Insulinde

20-The disappeared Compagnie Seepers of the City Guard of Batavia

21- Han Oen Lee en Kan Oe Nio

22- Ganti Nama,the compulsory name change imposed on Chinese Indonesian citizens and other racial laws in Indonesia




22.Ganti Nama, the compulsory name change imposed on Chinese Indonesian citizens and other racial laws and legal action in Indonesia

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With this story I will make an attempt to reduce the non-awareness and ignorance about the hardship of the Chinese citizens in Indonesia. This non-awareness or was it ignorance? became apparent for example when within the framework of the coup of 1965 I asked an expert on modern Indonesian history in Leiden why he during this meeting at his institute, was just passively listening and  did not raise the issue of the harsh ill-fate of Chinese citizens after this coup. The only answer I received was: It was not about  the Chinese.
Worldwide one seldom notices that a government compels its citizens to change their names. By chance I read in “The Hare with Amber eyes” of Edmund de Waal that the Nazi occupiers forced his grandparents and all the Jewish citizens of Austria to change their forename in more Jewish sounding names. This  legislative measure was imposed before the Jewish citizens had to wear a yellow Jew Star. The purpose of this measure was to distinguish the Jewish people more easily.
During the Suharto regime in Indonesia 1966-1998 “Ganti Nama”, name change for the Chinese citizens in more Indonesian sounding names was first recommended. Thereafter came more pressure and finally the enforcement by law. This law was first put into action in a decree of the Cabinet Presidium: Keputusan Presidium Kabinet nomor 127/U/Kep/1966,
followed by a more formal law: SE No. 6/Preskab/6/67.
This law was part of a set of laws to abolish the Chinese identity.
Enforcement of this law was experienced by our family as my uncle Oei Biauw Ho and his whole family in Sukabumi was taken at gunpoint from their home to a school. His family was not allowed to leave this school before they filled out all the formality papers for an official name change. The new names were not free to choose but had to be taken from an official list of names.
My father was usually not engaged in politics. However by this incident, he was so deeply moved that he, together with Yap Thiam Hien and a few other lawyer friends, wrote an open protest letter that this compulsory name change was against the constitution. Just recently I heard that Yap Thiam Hien was jailed for among other things, this open letter. Luckily my father by then had emigrated via Germany to the Netherlands. Notice however that the possibility for our family to escape Indonesia before 1974 was for a long time completely uncertain. For example, by 1971 our family still did not receive any answer to our visa application filed in 1964. In 1971 we received from the Dutch embassy in Djakarta just a denigratory letter with remarks like: “there is no place for your kind of people in the Dutch society since your family has no ties with the Netherlands” .
So for us, it was clear at that moment we no longer could count on that Dutch embassy in Djakarta.
Fortunately we were told about the German route.


Discrimination of Chinese Citizens and discriminating laws and regulations in Indonesia

The compulsory name change imposed on the Chinese citizens in Indonesia were to be seen in the context of a set of discriminating laws and regulations introduced in Indonesia since the proclamation of independence on the 17th of August 1945.
The discrimination of Chinese citizens became most clear during the pogroms and genocide against the Chinese population directly after 17 August 1945 during the so-called Bersiap period. For example in Tangerang in 1946 about 635 Chinese were murdered as allegedly being pro Dutch and spies of the NICA. In later years there were similar pogroms and genocides, for example after the coup of 1965 and in 1998. In the Netherlands the pogroms and genocide of 1998 are more known than that of 1965,  due to the presence by then of more tourists and reporters.
From documents released to the public after more than 40 years, it is nowadays known that after the coup of 1965 some foreign reporters were censored by their governments. The cold war was at its summit, so no negative news about the “communist fighter” Suharto was allowed.

Apparently my grandfather Hok Hoei Kan (H.H. Kan) had already in 1945 serious concerns about the fate of the Chinese citizens in Indonesia


On September the 20th 1945 H.H. Kan was invited by president Soekarno to his home Pegangsaan Timoer 56, the very same place where he had pronounced the declaration of independent of Indonesia just a month before.
This visit however did not relieve his concerns about the fate of the Chinese citizens in the future state of Indonesia.
In November 1945 a war between the pemoedas and the British army over the town Soerabaja was fought. After this war the Dutch and Chinese population in the whole province of East Java were targeted by the pemoedas.
This was the starting signal for pogroms and genocide against the Chinese in the whole archipelago known as the Bersiap unrest.

Luckily according to letters from the families Han and The, from Surabaya  to H.H. Kan, that the family members had largely  been spared from the pogroms at that time (1946).

Since H.H. Kan was still concerned about the fate of the Chinese citizens in the new Indonesia, he wrote telegrams to the queen of the Netherlands and the prime minister in 1946 and 1947.
Probably a factor was his personal encounter with the queen at his official knighthood ceremony.

telegram   antwoord
ontvangst   These telegrams to the queen and the prime minister were clearly comprehensive telegrams.
For example this one, as can be seen from the receipt contained 265 words and had cost f 80.50.

Examples of the answers to his telegrams were:


In resume: the results of his telegram would be incorporated in the Lingadjati agreement.
Mr. H.H. Kan should not be concerned because the safeguarding of the interests of all Indonesian population groups will be guaranteed.
This very wording introduced the flaw that was the origin of all the hardship suffered by the Chinese citizen in Indonesia. The Dutch East Indies government took as starting point that the Chinese were part of the Indonesian population groups, while in all previous official papers, that same government referred to  the Chinese as Oosterse Vreemdeling (Oriental Foreigner). This qualification of the Chinese being Oosterse Vreemdeling was therefore interpreted as such in the treaty by the negotiators of the Republic of Indonesia during the Lingadjati conference, as the official status of the Chinese. The Indonesian population groups were related to a certain Region, or island in the archipelago. For instance the Balinese lived on the island Bali etc. The Chinese lived throughout the whole archipelago and throughout South East Asia. So the Chinese were for the Republic of Indonesia Alien and not a representative of one of the Indonesian population groups. Ergo the interest of the Chinese was not the concern of the Republic of Indonesia.
In those days, but also all the time thereafter, the Chinese were regarded as Alien in Indonesia, even citizens who officially had the Indonesian nationality. So there is a letter A after the number on the identity card of Chinese citizens referring to Alien (or Asing in Bahasa Indonesia).


On my mothers identity cards from 1966 and 1969 clearly the letter A can be seen behind the number.
Actually this is nowadays still the case on the identity cards of all Chinese citizens.

The first discriminating regulation launched by the Indonesian government was directly after the transfer of sovereignty to Indonesia in 1949.
Every Chinese who by December 1951 had not yet chosen the Indonesian nationality will be regarded as Alien and could be expelled. This regulation will be applied even to families that have been living in Indonesia for many generations or centuries.
Apart from the fact that this regulation was generally not known, there were various interpretations of this regulation. The result was that many Chinese suddenly became stateless. This had direct impact on their work and essential living conditions.
Also it turns out that there were difficulties in transferring money abroad. This money transfer was needed for example by H.H. Kan to buy an air-conditioner needed for his severe asthma.
This money transfer problem was even worse for those that had chosen for the Dutch nationality or were considering this. it meant that when they emigrated they could not take any money with them
On November 19th 1950 there was a big raid in Djakarta and my grandfather H.H. Kan was jailed

click to enlarge
razzias   razzias
    click to enlarge
aanhoudingen   wapens in beslag

The Chinese embassy tried to relieve the Chinese citizens.

nieuwe courant   nieuwe courant

H.H. Kan was jailed because on the raid they found a revolver for which he had no permit.
He had a permit from the Dutch East Indies government, but not one from the Republic of Indonesia.

vergunning   This permit was issued to allow H.H. Kan to travel around safely in his car in West Java

According to my father this stay in jail was really disastrous for my grandfathers health, in particular the overcrowded cell in combination with bad or lack of food. Nota bene my grandfather had just survived the ordeal of the Japanese camps.
He died shortly after this jail period on March 1st 1951.
During the burial ceremony at his home, a group of Pakistani forcefully entered his house and occupied it. This house became the Embassy of Pakistan.

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The police of Djakarta refused to chase the Pakistani away under the pretext that Pakistan was a friendly Muslim state.
(see the story: The last house of H.H. Kan)

In 1954 there was a law forbidding Chinese to buy land property, (except real estate in urban areas)

In 1954 there was a law forbidding Chinese to own a rice mill. This had direct consequences for the family's rice mill at the estate of Gaboes

From 1955 on, there were regulations to limit and ultimately ban Chinese citizens from entering State Universities. These regulations were never put into a formal law, but the regulation was unofficially increasingly strictly implemented. So cousin Kan Sioe Djien could still study medicine in the 1950's at the Universitas Indonesia. This was completely different in the 1960's.
I had to take an admission test to enter the Universitas Indonesia. There were so many people participating in this test that it had to be taken in the main stadium of Djakarta. There was no argument against having to perform a test. The sneakiness, however, was in the interpretation of who had passed the test and who had not. Before entering this test one had to fill out and sign a kind of “Arier statement”. In this statement one had to put the names of the parents and the grandparents both of father’s and mother’s side. Some Chinese had already changed their names in Indonesian sounding names. However their grandparents had not changed their names or were deceased. Therefore the selection committee could easily pick out all the Chinese. They had simply “failed to pass the test”.
Just because I had chosen a study in Physics, which was not so popular since it was known as a difficult study, I could circumvent this racist selection circus. My sister however who had chosen the popular study Architecture was rejected at two State Universities.

In 1957 the government started to close the Chinese schools, the official school language was from then on Bahasa Indonesia.

In 1958 the government started to ban newspapers and magazines in the Chinese language. It was forbidden to publish and print text and Chinese characters. Still some newspapers were allowed to write in a mixture of Malay,  Bahasa Indonesia and Hokien language as for example Sin Po. This newspaper was banned after coup of 1965.

In 1959/1960 the Peraturan Presiden (PP) no 10 was issued banning trade by Chinese in “small cities”. With small cities was meant towns smaller than “ibukota kabupaten” (part province capitol).
This PP 10 regulation was proven catastrophic for those Chinese who had been trading in those towns for generations. They had to transfer their business to “real” (pribumi) Indonesians. With this PP10 regulation they lost their means of income. In addition the local population was abetted by slogans as “unfair trade and bloodsuckers” to attack and plunder the Chinese homes. We experienced this as uncle Oei Biauw Ho’s house and factory was plundered. For me 1960 marked the start of the pogroms against the Chinese in Indonesia.

In 1963 the military commander of West Java forbid any Chinese to live in small towns and villages throughout the province West Java. Just recently I heard that some of these driven away Chinese citizens found sanctuary in the family house of the Tan family in Bogor. See the story “Gedong Dalam” on this site.

In 1963 again pogroms against Chinese citizens in Sukabumi, Tjeribon and Bandung.
N.B. all these laws and regulations were issued by president Soekarno de 1st president of the Republik Indonesia.
After the coup of 1965 president Soekarno was replaced by general Suharto. This coup was allegedly done by the communist party (PKI). So, during his terms in office (1966-1998) the so-called Orde Baru time period, under the pretext of counter communist activities the racist laws and regulations against Chinese were extended. In addition based on the previous laws and regulations, new laws and regulations were declared. The purpose of these new laws and regulations was to completely eradicate the Chinese culture.

In 1966: Keputusan Presidium Kabinet (KEP) no 127/U/Kep/12 1966:
It was strongly advised to the Chinese population to change their names into Indonesian sounding names.

In 1966: Resolution of the MPRS (temporary national parliament) TAP MPRS no. 32/1966:
Ban on Chinese Characters in newspapers and magazines.

In 1967: SE-36/Pres/Kab/6/1967:
A circular was issued on the Chinese Question, deleting any difference between foreign Chinese and Chinese citizen with the Indonesian nationality. As a matter of fact, this circular was labeling the whole Chinese population as communist.
As a direct effect each person with Chinese looks was outlawed and could be picked up from the street, be beaten up under suspicion of having at least sympathy with the communist party of Indonesia (PKI). So the Chinese citizens could be put in jail or taken to a unknown destination and disappear forever.

On this picture one could see how a Chinese looking person was picked from the street by Muslim youths with sticks and military personnel.

van straat geplukt

In 1967: Instruksi Presidium Kabinet RI (IPKRI) no. 37/U/IN/6/1967:
Guidelines were issued on how to solve the Chinese Question.

In  1967: Inpres no 240/1967:
Tightening of Kep no. 127/U/Kep/12/1966 about name change of the Chinese citizens.

In 1967: SE-06 No Preskab/6/67 of June the 28th 1967 or Circular no.6 of 1967:
The legal obligation for Chinese citizens to change their names in Indonesian sounding names was put into a law. This law was introduced under the pretext to improve the assimilation of Chinese citizens into the Indonesian society. In practice however the Chinese Indonesians had no profit from this assimilation, since name change did not change someone’s face.
For example: Rudy Hartono did change his name as was expected of a loyal citizen. He is renowned for winning the (badminton) Thomas Cup for Indonesia. In that same year his sister, who had also changed her name and had won many badminton medals for Indonesia, was rejected at various State Universities simply because she was from Chinese descendance. 
Name change is a deathblow to one of the pillars of the Chinese culture. This law deprives the Chinese community from keeping their centuries long family name. In fact this law breaks the relationship that people have with their ancestors. According to the tradition of Kong Fu Tse of honoring your ancestors and being proud of your family name, your family name is your identity.
So the loss of one’s family name by the name change had direct impact on one’s identity.
As my father always said: you might be poor, but a generations long good family name is priceless. That was also the reason why he reacted so fiercely on the ordeal of uncle Oei Biauw Ho and family who have to change their names under military threat.
In addition to changing one’s name, one needed to change not only one document but quite often more than 13 documents each time at least at 11 different official authorities, each with its own kickbacks.
To speed-up the process of name change the law was tightened by Keputusan Presidium, 1 Maret 1968.
Another point in circular no 6 of 1967 was a selection of permitted terms to address citizens of Chinese descendant. It became forbidden to address these citizens as Tionghoa as the Chinese call themselves. Instead the official name became Tjina/Cina. In general the term Tjina/Cina was used as swear words for Chinese. So with this circular insulting and humiliating of Chinese became institutionalized.

In 1967: Instruksi President, Inpres no. 14/1967:
Ban on all Chinese religions in Indonesia.
After 1965 a clear division was made between religious citizens and atheists. The coup of 1965 was blamed to be conducted by the communists. So all the citizens that could not prove to belong to one religion officially recognized by the government, were atheist and so communist and could be put in jail.
Most of the Chinese were worshipping their ancestors as directed by Kong Fu Tse. This was however not an official recognized religion. Avoidance opportunities for Chinese were the Christian religions (protestant or catholic) or Buddhism. For the Christian religions you had to present as proof a baptism letter. So the only religion left for our family was Buddhism. At the Univertas Indonesia I had to follow lessons in Buddhism.
With this law there was also a ban on celebrating Chinese New Year, Tjap Go Meh and to performing the Barongsai (Dragon) dance in public.

In 1967 and 1980: Instruction of ministry for domestic affairs no X01/1967 and Instruction for registration of citizen with the secret instruction of the governor of Jakarta:
Instruction for the use of special codes for Indonesian citizen of Chinese descendant, namely an A or an A01 in front or behind the number of the identity card, sometimes with the addition of a 9 as the last digit. The fact that this was put into a law in 1967 and 1980 was just a formality since this was already common practice for years. For example on all of our families identity cards after the coup of 1965, there was an A after the number, as can be seen on my fathers identity card.

vaders pas
pas no

The special A code was used to easily call all Chinese citizens to report to the police station (just like the J for the Jewish).  So they could be checked on the whereabouts and their involvement with the communist coup. If you did not respond in time to the call up then you were supposed to be a fugitive communist and so could be taken from home.
My father was sacked in 1963 as a contra revolutionary (against the regime of president Soekarno) because he had refused to become a member of the communist civil servant union. So in fact he was expecting to be rehabilitated after the communists were eliminated. Instead he was summoned to report at the police station and to prove that he was not a communist and did not participate in the coup.
This document “Not involved with the coup of 1965 (G30S)” became the standard cash cow of the bureaucratic government. Even children born after the coup of 1965 had to present this document for obtaining a license, entrance to a club, school or for higher education or a simple identification card.

In 1973: Keputusan Kepala BAKIN no. 031/1973:
The foundation of the Institution for Coordination and Solving “The Chinese Problem”

In 1978: Keputusan Menteri Perdagangan dan Koperasi (Decree of the minister of trade  Cooperation’s):
Ban on the use of Chinese language (mandarin)
Ban on the use of Chinese characters in shops and enterprises.
Ban on sale and production of literature in Chinese language and with Chinese characters.

In 1978: Circular Ministry of Information no. SE/DI:
Ban on publication, press of documents in Chinese language and with Chines Characters.

In 1988: Peraturan Menteri Perumahan (Regulation of the  Minister for buildings);
Mendagri  PMP no. 455.2-360/1988:
Ban on the building of Klentengs (Chinese  worship houses).

In 1988: SE 02/SE/DITJEN/PPGK 1988:
Ban on publication, press of documents in Chinese language and with Chinese Characters

Just in 2017 I received from Indonesia via the newsletter of Tionghoa INFO information about an Government Institution during the Orde Baru regime that was founded to coordinate
   “The Resolving of the Chinese Problem”

buku1   buku3

This Government  Institution: “Badan Penyelesaian Masalah Cina” (Institution for resolving the Chinese Problem) worked according  to a Handbook published in 1979 by BAKIN (Badan Koordinasi Intelijen Negara). Inside there was a mark that the use of this handbook was “limited to functionaries”, so not for public use. Now after more than 40 years such documents become open to the public.
This handbook consists of 3 volumes with a total of 1500 pages.

Years ago as I read about this Institution in Wikipedia, my thought was then: this is nonsense, communistic propaganda that should be deleted from Wikipedia. After seeing the above photos and reading a description of the content I became convinced that the Suharto regime had copied the notes of the Wannsee Conference of Nazi Germany and just interchanged the word Jew with Chinese

The plans for the Chinese were just the same as for the Jews namely to drive away the Chinese from Indonesia. The roadmap was identical  as described in the notes  of the Wannsee Conference for the Jews.

The First Phase:

In the beginning the Nazis try to convince the Jews that they do not belong to Germany. So by intimidation, discrimination, systematic exclusion of German Jews the Nazis try to make them to emigrate voluntary.
So all the laws and regulations described above were merely to reinforce this first phase.

The Second Phase:

Annihilation of the Chinese

Indonesia has no means and manpower to do this annihilation as was done by the Nazis. So for this measure the government resorted to the use of criminals to do the dirty work as can be seen in the film: An Act of Killing van Joshua Oppenheimer; .

This film is based on events that I had already heard about in 1965/1966 on radio Peking in interviews with Chinese who  had fled from north Sumatra. These Chinese had fled with small fishing boats and were picked up by Chinese ships just outside the territorial waters of Indonesia.
Up to 1967 the governor of the capital Djakarta general Ali Sadikin could prevent pogroms against the Chinese in town. Since however he was instated during the regime of president Soekarno he was replaced during the regime of Suharto. So pogroms and genocide could take place against the Chinese in Djakarta in particular downtown in the Chinese Quarter. Because my father did not believe all these events, he was dragged by his friend Chin Hoi Kwet to see the cadavers in the kali or channels of the Chinese Quarter.
The total number of killed Chinese is unknown until today. Officially there were 500.000 up to 3 million communists killed. About ½ to ¾ of these killed persons were innocent noncommunist Chinese.
On the national TVRI regional military commanders were boasting their achievements of killing communists.
So Sarwo Edhie Wibowo (1925 – 1989) told the interviewer that he had destroyed 500.000 communists. As the interviewer asked him whether he as a Javanese was not having trouble in killing so many Javanese, he answered with a laugh: no, these killed were just Chinese!!!, and they both laughed loudly.
Later during a hearing at the Indonesian parliament he acknowledged killing one million communists.
Also the commander of central Kalimantan was proudly telling the audience that he had completely clensed Kalimantan of Chinese and other vermin.
Are there still video recordings of these TV broadcasts?! For a tribunal about genocide as was done in Neurenberg these videos would be splendid evidence material. However such a tribunal was never held, even worse these military received high decorations and were raised as “Pahlawan” (National   Hero).
Sarwo Edhie Wibowo has now passed away and probably also that commander of central Kalimantan.
The corpses were dumped in mass graves as was shown by the history teacher at Bali in the film NBC Special News Report: “Indonesia, The Troubled Victory” by Ted Yates.
But quite often the corpses were thrown in the nearest river as was shown in the film “The Look of  Silence” also made by Joshua Oppenheimer. Also I read in the letters from family from Surabaja, that I had to read out to my grandmother, that the water purification installation had to be shut down because of the huge amount of dead bodies in the river.
Between May the 13th and 15th 1998 Pogroms against the Chinese were held in Jakarta. The reason: the Chinese were again the black sheep causing the bad economy. Chinese citizens were killed and Chinese women were raped. Offices, supermarkets and bank buildings of Chinese were burned.
On the photo the BCA Bank. Again just as after the 1965 coup a wave of Chinese emigrated.

Just during the period of government of the first chosen president K.H. Abdurrachman Wahid (Gus Dur) some of the discriminating laws of the Suharto regime were withdrawn

There must be no differences between citizens with the  Indonesian nationality based on religion, mother language, culture or ideology.
K.H. Abdurarrahman Wahid

In 2000: suspending Inpres no. 14/1967 replaced by Keppres no. 6/2000:
Chinese were allowed to practice their customs and religions.

In 2014: suspending SE-06/PresKab/6/1967 replaced by Keppres no. 12/2014:
The humiliating expression “Tjina/Cina was replaced by the old expression “Tionghoa/Tiongkok.
Also his successor Megawati Soekarnoputri withdraw some discriminating laws:

In 2002: Keppres no 19/2002:
Chinese new year was introduced as an official public holiday.



Discrimination and discriminating regulations and laws for Chinese in Indonesia have been there all the time. This is clearly a violation of the declaration of universal human rights of the United Nations (also signed by Indonesia) and also explicitly mentioned in the constitution of the Republic of Indonesia.
The oldest and first documented genocide against the Chinese took place during the VOC period in Batavia under the Governor General Valckenier in 1740. More than 10.000 Chinese were murdered
In 1804: Ban by the Dutch Easts Indian government on primary trade by Chinese.

23-9-1825: tens of Chinese were killed by Raden Ayu Yududakusuma, daughter of sultan Hamengkubuwono I.

In 1912 Pogroms against Chinese in Solo, central Java; the cause was the competition of Batik trade.

31-10-1918: Pogroms by the Serekat Islam. They burned and plundered houses and shops of Chinese in Kudus, central Java, the cause was the competition of the Tabaco trade.



Before WO II, the Dutch East Indian government stimulated racism against the Chinese population by the Indonesian population like the Javanese ones. An example can be read in this newspaper article in which my grandfather H.H. Kan in 1930 addressed questions in the Volksraad to the government.

Chinese in Indonesia nowadays are still not accepted as real Indonesian.
The weird situation as in the example of Rudy Hartono and his sister is common practice in Indonesia. One moment they are National Heroes, real Indonesians that won Thomas cups and medals. The other moment they are just bad Chinese that do not belong in Indonesia. In this context also one can mention the ordeal of all those other Chinese Thomas cup winners like Tan Yoe Hok.
Another example is the now ex-mayor of Jakarta. In 2017 several attempts were made to remove him from his office because he was just a Chinese, not a real Indonesian. Ultimately he was arrested and sentenced to jail because he as Chinese Christian had dared to quote the Quran.
The impact of changing one’s name is more than merely having another name. If you move away from Indonesia, and want to change your name back to your original name, you have to change all of the official documents such as diploma’s and identification papers. In most cases this will be an unachievable barrier.
Even now all of the Chinese citizen's children with the Indonesian nationality have to “naturalize”. So Chinese citizens including all their children have to show their naturalization document by every application for a document. This is maintained by the government since it is a source of income.
Now that Chinese people can no longer be accused of communist sympathies, after 2000 a new trend can be seen namely: discrimination of and attacks on Chinese Christians.
In 2005 many Chinese Christians received anonym threats via their cellular phones.
Also according to Jemma Purdey in her paper, churches with many Chinese followers in Tangerang and Bogor were attacked. There were rapports of muslim groups obstructing new churches from being built and/or the opening of these churches.
From this point of view one has to judge the prosecution of the Chinese Christian mayor of Jakarta in 2017 as an assault on the equality of Indonesian citizen:

From a recent article in the newspaper Algemeen Dagblad of August the 21th 2018 it became apparent that also Buddhist Chinese Indonesian citizens were discriminated and attacked.

So a Chinese Indonesian women was sentenced to 1 ½ year imprisonment just because she had dared to complain about noise disturbance of the neighbouring mosque. According to a local newspaper the Jakarta Post, the court in Indonesia had put in their judgment that the 44 year old woman was guilty of blasphemy.

The woman from North Sumatra was complaining about the prayer calls of the local mosque. In 2016 she would have said that the prayer calls were “too loud”, hurting her ears. Therefore she had asked to lower the volume of the loudspeakers.

The news about her criticism on the local mosque was according to the Jakarta Post the trigger for attacks on temples and vandalism of Buddha statues. The police arrested 19 hooligans. They were sentenced to 1 to 4 months of imprisonment.

Thus under the pretext of blasphemy both Christian and Buddhist Chinese Indonesian citizens were suppressed and put in jail.. The 2 examples above demonstrate how anno 2018 Chinese citizens are discriminated with racist legal actions.

Sioe Yao Kan, Berkel

Last updated September 2018




Wikipedia: Indonesian laws affecting Chinese Indonesians.

Newsletter TIONGHOA INFO 2017; G30S/PKI 1965; Apa Efeknya Bagi Tionghoa di Indonesia?

Newsletter TIONGHOA INFO 2017; Timeline Etnis Tionghoa di Indonesia.

Film The Act of Killing; Joshua Oppenheimer, 2012.

Film The Look of Silence; Joshua Oppenheimer, 2014.

Film NBC News Special Report Indonesia, The Troubled Victory;  Ted Yates,
    NBC Universal, 02/19/1967
Bittersweet: The Memoir of a Chinese Indonesian Family in the Twentieth Century; Stuart Pearson; (National U. Singapore Press & Ohio U. Press, 2008), pp. 125-127.
ANTI-CHINESE VIOLENCE IN INDONESIA 1996–1999; Jemma Purdey; Dissertation;
KITLV Press, Leiden, 2005.

What Role Does Religion Play in Anti-Chinese Violence?; Jemma Purdey, Paper presented at the 2004 Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) Conference in Canberra 29 June – 2 July 2004.

TEMPO; Jejak CIA Pada Tragedi 1965; 5-11 oktober 2015.

Algemeen Dagblad;  Buitenlandredactie 21-08-2018.


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