Chinese in Politics

May 16th, 2007, in News, by

Chinese people getting involved in politics, and inter-marrying.

Eddie Lembong, the head of the Chinese-Indonesian Association (INTI), says Chinese Indonesians should get more involved in politics, but not to the point of establishing their own political party. Eddie told the Jakarta Post:

Chinese Indonesians need to learn the science of politics, to be a knowledge-based politician in that sense. However, I do not agree with establishing an ethnic-based political party.

Most Chinese-Indonesians still regard politics as a taboo matter. They fear talking about politics, let alone being involved in it.

Speaking at a seventh anniversary event for the Indonesia Shang Bao daily newspaper, Eddie, whose other name is Wang Youshan, said this fear was related to traumas that Chinese-Indonesians have experienced since the Dutch colonial era, because the Dutch discriminated against the Chinese and set up separate laws for them (see Islam & Chinese).

Kwik Kian Gie
Kwik Kian Gie, a Chinese politician.

This system of discrimination was then continued in part by Indonesian governments post-independence in the form of the citizenship law and the civil registry law.

However, Eddie said things were much different today for Chinese-Indonesians, and other minorities like westerners and Christians:

After the enactment of the new citizenship law and civil registry law, both in 2006, the root of all discriminatory treatment against Caucasians, Chinese-Indonesians and Christian Indonesians was formally removed.

Eddie, a pharmacist by trade, said Chinese-Indonesians should first start studying political theory, the history of democracy and the republic, as well as about the nature of nationalism.

It is more important to master the knowledge of politics than to merely jump into practical politics by establishing or entering a political party.

He said that ethnic Chinese make up only 3% of the population.

So a political party should not be established based on ethnicity, but rather on an ideology supported by the people.

Also speaking at the event was House of Representatives Deputy Speaker AM Fatwa. Fatwa said that there were now legal punishments for bureaucrats who still insisted on Chinese-Indonesians having Indonesian Citizenship Letters (SKBRI).

Eddie Lembong
Eddie Lembong, former president Gus Dur, & businessman Sugeng Sarjadi.

Some public officials still asked for the SKBRI, Fatwa said, and he blamed this on their mentalities and their lack of awareness of the new law.

Fatwa also said that mixed-race marriages were a good way to bring about the assimilation of various ethnic groups. Eddie partly disagreed, however, saying that inter-ethnic marriages were not a means to solve problems generally but could have a positive affect on inter-ethnic relations.


5 Comments on “Chinese in Politics”

  1. avatar Bas says:

    Indonesian-chinese and pribumis are exactly the same lads. They share the same values (collusion – nepotism – corruption). Westerners should be given more room in Indonesian politics.

  2. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    Indonesian-chinese and pribumis are exactly the same lads. They share the same values (collusion – nepotism – corruption).

    We are blessed with more, laziness and easily self-contented.

    Westerners should be given more room in Indonesian politics.

    Hell no, they are busy bodies. They like to look over the fence, and tell you what they think is right or wrong.

  3. avatar Fixmanius says:

    I’m glad this has started, after all this country must be united as one. Unity in Diversity.

  4. Of course, Indonesian-Chinese people should have more opportunity to go to politics that is how they can mingle with the so-called pribumi which hopefully could create a better civilized society in this country.

  5. avatar Enigmatic says:

    Indonesians, Chinese or otherwise, will still be Indonesians.

    Their passports, Identity cards will still show their nationality as Indonesians.

    Unity in Diversity. Agreed.

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