Indonesia’s Chinese Minority Reclaim Cultural Heritage | World in Progress | DW | 27.02.2008
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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.


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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