The edict of 24 February 2006 which requires local and provincial administrations to give official recognition to the existence of Confucianism in Indonesia, or Khonghucu as it is called locally, appears likely to actually be enforced.
M Ma'ruf, the minister for religion, said mediaindo that there were some provinces and regencies which were still not ready to provide services to Confucianists, services such as the issuing of marriage licences and residence documents with the correct religious affiliation of the person/s.
The edict has already been sent to all areas. We will check all those areas and find out which ones haven't implemented it. Then we will ask what is the reason. (Surat itu sudah kita kirimkan ke seluruh daerah. Kita akan kontrol daerah mana saja yang belum melaksanakan betul. Kita akan tanya, apa alasannya.)
He added that the government would punish local administrations that failed to implement the law especially since the regions had already been given the necessary computer/technical instruction in how to bring the changes about.
History. Confucianism was outlawed in Indonesia in 1965 in the wake of the failed communist coup attempt, communism being associated with China, and hence the local Chinese population. All public displays of Chinese culture were also banned. The specific restrictions against Confucianism were repealed during the presidency of Gus Dur but the law making Confucianism an official religion was promulgated only this year.
Confucianism joins Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism and Hinduism as one of the formally recognised faiths of Indonesia.
March 13th 2006.
The recent ruling on local and provincial government recognition of Confucianism appears not yet to have fully percolated down to backwoods areas like Solo in central Java, where, Tempo Tempo reports, local Confucianists still have their complaints.
The Solo branch of the Indonesian Konghucu Council is pressing for the acceptance of the recent change in the law that allows for recognition of Confucianists by regional administrations. Some Confucianists claim that they have yet to receive the proper documentation of their marriages.
There are people who have been waiting six years to have their marriages registered at the civil registry office.
(Ada warga kami yang sudah menunggu enam tahun agar perkawinannya didaftarkan di kantor catatan sipil.)
said Go Djien Tjwan of the Konghucu Council.
Another fellow, Adjie Chandra, who says there are about 600 Confucianists in Solo with only about 50 active practioners among them, adds:
The president has already promised to eliminate all forms of discrimination against Confucianists. We don't know if the realisation of this has to wait on the passing of the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination Law.
(Padahal Presiden sudah berjanji menghapus segala bentuk diskriminasi atas pemeluk Konghucu. Kami tidak tahu apakah realisasinya menunggu disahkan Undang-undang Penghapusan Diskriminasi Etnis dan Ras.)
The head of the marriage registry office Sri Haryati declined to comment in detail on any specific case saying only that there were no problems regarding Confucianists in Solo. She said that her office had not received the instruction from the central government to give recognition to Confucianists.
Other areas of Indonesia however have already acted on the new law, which actually came into effect in late February 2006, among them the area of Tegal, in central Java, where the marriage of a Confucianist couple was formally recognised for the first time last Saturday.