Ethnic Relations in Transnational Context : The Case Study of Chinese Indonesians – Indonesian Relations in Medan after 1998


The relations between Chinese and 'Pribumi' Indonesians are unequivocally complicated, and vary according to global & local contexts. For decades, Chinese-Pribumi Indonesians relations have been very fragile. Ethnic tension had evidently reached its peak in 1998 and soon after that, many anti-Chinese riots took place in several cities, including Medan. This incident has unquestionably given an indelible memory of trauma and instability to Chinese Indonesians. In the post-Suharto, the reformation government endorses the policy of multiculturalism and allows international observers to critique on the issue of Chinese-Pribumi protection and ethnic equality. These have certainly given rise to ethnic freedom as well as Chinese identity to re-emerge. Particularly in Medan, the Medan Chinese identity and community are well-built transnationally. And yet, they are less assimilated and integrated into local society. The critical juncture of 1998 without doubt has given changes over ethnic relations to some extent. The research hence critically considers the changes of the interethnic relations between Medan Chinese- Pribumi Indonesians after 1998 and aims to describe and analyze the complex ethnic relations among them as well as illustrate the considerable challenges in their relations, namely a strong 'ethnic-line' and class differences.

Author Information
Chontida Auikool, Thammasat University, Thailand

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2013
Stream: Arts & Humanities

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