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World in Progress

Indonesia’s Chinese Minority Reclaim Cultural Heritage

It is the year 4706 -- at least for those of us who celebrated Chinese New Year this year. And, for almost 10 years now, this includes the Chinese minority in Indonesia again.

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Chinese can now celebrate New Year in Indonesia

They also celebrated the New Year in public. This may not seem like a big deal, but until the year 2000 that was strictly against the law for them. During the Suharto dictatorship, ethnic Chinese in Indonesia faced all kinds of discrimination: they were not allowed to study the Chinese language, they had to adopt Indonesian names, and they weren't allowed to enter many professions. At times the prejudice turned violent: ten years ago, more than a thousand people died in anti-Chinese riots, following the fall of Suharto. But now young Chinese-Indonesians are reclaiming their cultural heritage and making it cool to be Chinese. For their parents -- who lived through years of oppression -- it is amazing, yet frightening, to see. Reporter: Rebecca Henschke

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