• Short Summary

    INDONESIA'S THREE-MILLION STRONG CHINESE COMMUNITY HAVE LIVED IN A STATE OF FEAR SINCE PRESIDENT SUKARNO WAS OUSTED FIVE YEARS AGO.

  • Description

    INDONESIA'S THREE-MILLION STRONG CHINESE COMMUNITY HAVE LIVED IN A STATE OF FEAR SINCE PRESIDENT SUKARNO WAS OUSTED FIVE YEARS AGO. ALTHOUGH MOST OF THEM HAVE TAKEN INDONESIAN NATIONALITY, AND EVEN NAMES, THEY STILL LIVE TOGETHER FOR PROTECTION IN GHETTOS SURROUNDED BY BARBED WIRE.

    CHINESE IMMIGRATION TO INDONESIA STRETCHES BACK TO THE 16TH CENTURY. THEY FIRST CAME AS MINE WORKERS AND PLANTATION LABOURERS, BUT QUICKLY ESTABLISHED THEMSELVES AS A PROSPEROUS TRADING MIDDLE CLASS. THE MAIN INFLUX OF CHINESE WAS AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS CENTURY, WHEN THE DUTCH COLONIALISTS TREATED THEM AS A PRIVILEGED CLASS. IN 1945, WHEN INDONESIA BECAME INDEPENDENT, THE CHINESE WERE ACCUSED OF EXPLOITATION AND BANNED FROM TRADING IN RURAL AREAS.

    PRESIDENT SUKARNO'S HONEYMOON WITH THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA ENDED IN WILD ANTI-CHINESE RIOTING IN WHICH HUNDREDS WERE KILLED, THEIR HOUSES AND CARS BURNED, AND THEIR PROPERTY CONFISCATED.

    TODAY IT IS NOT KNOWN HOW MANY OF THE CHINESE HAVE DECIDED TO MAKE INDONESIA THEIR PERMANENT HOME. UNDER AN AGREEMENT IN 1949 BETWEEN DJAKARTA AND PEKING, INDONESIAN-BORN CHINESE WERE OFFERED CITIZENSHIP. SOME 400,000 REJECTED THE OFFER. IN 1962, ONE MILLION WERE OFFERED A FINAL CHANCE OF INDONESIAN CITIZENSHIP, BUT NO FIGURES ARE AVAILABLE ON HOW MANY TOOK UP THE OPTION.

    PRESIDENT SUHARTO SIGNED A NEW LAW LAST YEAR AIMED AT ENCOURAGING CHINESE TO BECOME INDONESIAN CITIZENS. THEY ARE BEING ENCOURAGED TO TAKE INDONESIAN NAMES. IT IS NOT UNCOMMON TO SEE SHOPS IN CHINATOWN FULL OF CHINESE ASSISTANTS WITH INDONESIAN NAMES OUTSIDE.

    BUT THE CHINESE CONTROL MUCH OF DJAKARTA'S COMMERCE, AND ARE CRUCIAL TO AN IMPORTANT SECTOR OF THE INDONESIAN ECONOMY.

    THE BETJAK (PRON. BAYT-CHUH), INDONESIA'S THREE-WHEELED PEDAL-DRIVEN VERSION OF THE TAXI, FLOOD THE STREETS, BUT MOST OF THEM ARE OWNED BY CHINESE BUSINESSMEN. THEY ARE USUALLY RIDDEN BY INDONESIANS WHO SELDOM BOTHER WITH THE OBLIGATORY DRIVER'S LICENCE. IF THE POLICE CATCH THEM THEY TAKE AWAY THE SEAT OF THE BETUAK. THIS MEANS INSTANT DISMISSAL FOR THE DRIVER, WHO MUST ALSO MAY HIS CHINESE BOSS FOR A NEW.

    THE TRADITIONAL INDONESIAN HOME INDUSTRY OF BATIK CLOTH IS ALSO LARGELY IN THE HANDS OF CHINESE. RUBY JASIN, AGED 24, WHO CHANGED HIS NAME FROM LEE KING SIN, RUNS A TYPICAL FACTORY BEHIND HIS HOUSE IN DJAKARTA. HIS FATHER, WHO DIED TWO YEARS AGO, HAD OWNED THE BUSINESS FOR 30 YEARS. RUDY, NOW AN INDONESIAN CITIZEN, HAS 40 INDONESIA EMPLOYEES WHO PRODUCE 800 PIECES OF BATIK CLOTH A WEEK, SOME HAND-PAINTED BY WOMEN, THE REST MACHINE-PRINTED BY MEN. SOME OF THE WOMEN HAVE THEIR BABIES ASLEEP NEXT TO THEIR WORK BENCHES. THE FACTORY IS DARK, AND THE FLOOR IS EARTH. THERE ARE 500 SIMILAR FACTORIES OWNED BY CHINESE IN THIS ONE SUBURB OF DJAKARTA ALONE. ALL THE CLOTH IS MARKETED THROUGH A CHINESE-OWNED CO-OPERATIVE.

    CHINESE WEALTH IS EVIDENT IN DJAKARTA'S SUBURBS, WHERE THEY CONGREGATE FOR MUTUAL PROTECTION. THE SUBURB OF TAMANSARI, FOR EXAMPLE, HAS LARGE MODERN, WELL-FURNISHED HOUSES. STEEL OR BRICK FENCES ARE ALWAYS TOPPED BY STRANDS OF BARBED WIRE, GATES HAVE DOUBLE LOCKS AND GUARD DOGS PATROL GARDENS AT NIGHT. THE BARBED WIRE NOT ONLY KEEPS THE INDONESIANS OUT, IT KEEPS THE CHINESE A SEPARATE COMMUNITY.

    FOR ENTERTAINMENT, THERE ARE NUMEROUS CINEMAS IN DJARTA WHICH SHOW CHINESE FILMS, MOST BROUGHT FROM HONG KONG OR TAIWAN, AND, NATURALLY FOR A RACE OF GAMBLERS, THERE ARE CASINOS. UNTIL 1968, WHEN THE GOVERNMENT LEGALISED GAMBLING AT TWO GOVERNMENT CASINOS IN DJAKARTA, THE CHINESE BET ON ANYTHING....CARDS, MAHJONG, MATCHES AND BUTTONS. NOW THEIR SPENDING MONEY GOES TO THE GOVERNMENT COFFERS THROUGH ROULETTE, BLACKJACK, BACCARAT OR THE ASIAN VERSION OF BINGO. AT THE PETAK SEMBILAN ON THE EDGE OF CHINATOWN 99 PER CENT OF THE PLAYERS LIVE NEARBY. THE TABLES ARE CROWDED EVERY NIGHT, BUT THE FIGURES ARE NOT DISCLOSED. EVEN THE SARINAH CASINO, BUILT IN CENTRAL DJAKARTA FOR TOURISTS, IS MOSTLY FULL OF CHINESE. IT IS NECESSARY FOR ANYONE LIVING IN INDONESIA TO PROVE THEY HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO BE ABLE TO GAMBLE. MOSTLY, ONLY CHINESE QUALIFY.

    THE FUTURE OF THE CHINESE COMMUNITY IS STILL IN A BALANCE. ALREADY THIS YEAR THERE HAVE BEEN ANTI-CHINESE RIOTS IN SULAWESI (FORMERLY CELEBES), AND IT IS SELF-EVIDENT THAT THE CHINESE FEEL RIOTS AGAINST THEM COULD BREAK OUT ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. LAST YEAR, FACING A BALANCE OF PAYMENTS PROBLEM, THE INDONESIAN GOVERNMENT CALLED ON THE CHINESE TO USE THEIR CAPITAL PROPERLY, AND NOT CREATE ECONOMIC DISORDER. A GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN SAID: "WE ARE GIVING THEM A CHANCE, AND WE ARE AWAITING A SIGN OF THEIR GOODWILL IN OUR ECONOMIC LIFE".

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA2GBK5743UWUEDFINN6E18YT0L
    Media URN:
    VLVA2GBK5743UWUEDFINN6E18YT0L
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    24/04/1970
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:03:10:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

Comments (0)

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment