Indonesian laws concerning Chinese-Indonesians

Indonesian laws concerning Chinese-Indonesians

Indonesian law concerning Chinese-Indonesian are laws, directives, or constitutions enacted by the government of Indonesia that affected the lives of Chinese Indonesians or Chinese national living in Indonesia (during Indonesian independence).

The laws are considered discriminatory by some, and taken as laws made against Chinese Indonesian. This article is a list and background review behind controversial laws and directive officially issued by the Government of Republic of Indonesia.

Peraturan Pemerintah 10/1959

Peraturan Pemerintah 10/1959 (Government Directive No. 10/1959) was the law directive issued by Indonesian Government and signed by Ministry of Trade Rachmat Mujomisero. The law prohibited foreign nationals to do retail business outside urban areas (prohibition included rural areas) and must transfer their businesses to Indonesian nationals by 1 January 1960 or relocate to urban areas. This directive was approved by former President Sukarno. The rule became controversial since its implementation resulting in several people being killed in West Java (also known as racial riot of Cibadak) and triggered a huge exodus of Chinese Indonesians to return to China [ id Peraturan yang Menggusur Tionghoa. Majalah Tempo edisi 13-19 Agustus 2007. Hal 94-95.] . Although the regulation merely mentioned that only "foreign citizens" were required to do the relocation and closure of business, the law affected a lot of Chinese nationals and Chinese Indonesians. From 86.690 foreign business retailer listed about 90 percent of it was Chinese [ id Peraturan yang Menggusur Tionghoa. Majalah Tempo edisi 13-19 Agustus 2007. Hal 94-95.] .

However PP 10/1959 is not the first law of trade affecting Chinese-Indonesians, in the beginning of 1950 the Government of Indonesia (GoI) issued "benteng" (fortress) which stated that only Indonesians ("pribumi") are allowed to have licenses to import certain items classified as "fortress" items. During its implementation, this rule gave birth to the term "Ali Baba", meaning that underground trade activities with the combine cooperation between Chinese businessmen and Indonesians who have access in the bureaucracy were going on [ id Peraturan yang Menggusur Tionghoa. Majalah Tempo edisi 13-19 Agustus 2007. Hal 94-95.] .


* Right after the Indonesian Independence on 1945, the Indonesian people was overwhelmed by the euphoria of "freedom" and took over a lot of foreign capitals - this actions were referred to " An anti Dutch sentiment". Among others, one was a Dutch company Koninklejke Paketvaart Maatscchappi (KPM), a company serving in sea transportation from Netherland to Indonesia. Marhaen, a labor group that later on become a political party, took over this company. Other foreign capital seized were also oil fields, by the oil laborer claiming themselves as "Laskar Minyak" (The Oil Defenders) [ id Nasionalisasi Berakhir Buntung. Majalah Tempo. 13-17 Agustus 2007 hal 88-89.] .

* After a while the Government of Indonesia realized that unskilled and unexperienced Indonesian was unable to run the company. The Indonesians, referred to as "Kaum pribumi" also don't have enough capital and almost impossible to compete with foreign investment and the Chinese capital (previously before the independence Chinese ethnic has better chances to do business from Colonialist ruler) [id Nasionalisasi Berakhir Buntung. Majalah Tempo edisi 13-19 Agustus 2007 hal 88-89.] . These companies suffers losses after the seizure. As a solution, the Government of Indonesia signed a an agreement during Dutch-Indonesian Round Table Conference in Den Haag, Netherlands which stated that the government of Indonesia will return all seized foreign investment assets to its previous owner. In return to strengthen up the weak Indonesian (refer to pribumi) the Government of Indonesia has the right to issue a law or directive to protect the national interest and those who "economically feeble".

* On 19 March 1956 during Indonesian National Importer Congress in Surabaya ("Kongres Importir Nasional Indonesia"), Asaat Datuk Mundo, make an opening oration that the Chinese have become monopolistic in doing their business by closing all possible entry for Indonesia to join the trade market. cquote|The Chinese as an exclusive group refuse other group to enter, specially in economy. They were so exclusive that in their practice they become monopolistic . As a closing statement, Assat also add that he believe this is the time to have a special economy initiative to protect Indonesian (pribumi) [ id Peraturan yang Menggusur Tionghoa. Majalah Tempo edisi 13-19 Agustus 2007. Hal 94-95.] . * Asaat speech become the beginning of "Asaat movement" or "Pro Indonesian (term used was for Indonesian was "Pribumi") movement" and have a huge impact on the following rules favoring it. On November 1959 PP Nomor 10 tahun 1959 was issued.

* The fact was, during 1950s almost all retail store in Indonesia were owned by Chinese or Chinese-Indonesian. Everything from grocery stores, hardware stores, even restaurants. Alwi Sahab, a Betawi culture expert stated that during his youth in Kwitang, Central Jakarta, the center of economic in Jakarta is fully dependent on Chinese or Chinese Indonesian businessman. cquote|Well if you think there are Padang Restaurant or other restaurant like now, you really shouldn't, everything was owned by the Chinese then [ id Peraturan yang Menggusur Tionghoa. Majalah Tempo edisi 13-19 Agustus 2007. Hal 94-95.] .

Implementation, protest and counter action

* The law affected 86.690 foreign retailers listed (90 percent of it is Chinese). During the implementation about 500 thousands affected [ id Peraturan yang Menggusur Tionghoa. Majalah Tempo edisi 13-19 Agustus 2007. Hal 94-95.] . However, Waspada daily printed in Medan have a different number, about 25.000 small groceries/ booths by foreign retailers (mainly) Chinese affected by PP No. 10 [ id Berita Peristiwa 60 Tahun Waspada: Penduduk Cina Dipulangkan (1960). PP No.10 dan Masalah Pemulangan Hoakiao Hal 39] .

* Although the sanctions were specified in the directive were only property confiscation (all items must be given to Koperasi) [ id Berita Peristiwa 60 Tahun Waspada: Penduduk Cina Dipulangkan (1960). PP No.10 dan Masalah Pemulangan Hoakiao Hal 39] , fines, and forced relocation, in practice, there are records of some offenders executed (Cimahi and Cibadak, West Java [ id Peraturan yang Menggusur Tionghoa. Majalah Tempo edisi 13-19 Agustus 2007. Hal 94-95.] ) and their businesses were confiscated [ id [ "Sistem Nilai Kita Sudah Dirusak."] "Indonesia Media" online. September 2000. Accessed 25 February 2008.] .

* In some places the law was military enforced. The military shot dead two Chinese women, which triggered a riot in Cimahi, Jawa Barat, it is also noted that the Chinese were forced to leave their home and properties [ id Peraturan yang Menggusur Tionghoa. Majalah Tempo edisi 13-19 Agustus 2007. Hal 94-95.] . However, in general (nationwide) the implementation of this law was going smoothly [ id Berita Peristiwa 60 Tahun Waspada: Penduduk Cina Dipulangkan (1960). PP No.10 dan Masalah Pemulangan Hoakiao Hal 39] , in some places like Bandung and Medan, there are Chinese merchants trying to boycott the implementation of PP 10 by practicing a speculation in hiding/ emptying its store and pile the goods in warehouse, resulting price increase of the main food materials. Specially after another government directive were issued about price adjustment. According to the Attorney General Special Instruction, in some areas, including North Sumatera, an Economic Survaillance Team was formed to watch certain issues in economy such as, stabilizing the price, and to do an appropriate to everyone that withhold the food program implemented by the government. The Economic Survaillance Team in North Sumatera manage to secure 200 warehouse in Medan consisting of food materials, the merchant was punished by imprisonment [ id Berita Peristiwa 60 Tahun Waspada: Penduduk Cina Dipulangkan (1960). PP No.10 dan Masalah Pemulangan Hoakiao Hal 39] .

* The law was meant to strengthening the national economy in Indonesia, yet this law had resulted a tense diplomatic relation between Republic of Indonesia and The People Republic of China. During the meeting between State Minister Subandrio and Chinese Ambassador for Indonesia (Huang Chen) in Jakarta, PRC insist that PP No. 10 should be reviewed and the request was denied [ id Berita Peristiwa 60 Tahun Waspada: Penduduk Cina Dipulangkan (1960). PP No.10 dan Masalah Pemulangan Hoakiao Hal 39] . Later on during a parliementary hearing, State Minister Subandrio restated that there are no element of anti-Chinese related in the implemetation of PP No. 10, the law was solely the beginning of nationalization and socialization in Indonesian economy, and as part of Indonesian revolution movement. On the nationalization part, PP No. 10 stated that foreign retailers must be closed outside "ibukota kabupaten" and the merchant may only stay (live) in his property (the property is not allowed to do business activities), foreigners must close their business at the latest on 1 January 1960 and give all their items to Koperasi [ id Berita Peristiwa 60 Tahun Waspada: Penduduk Cina Dipulangkan (1960). PP No.10 dan Masalah Pemulangan Hoakiao Hal 39] . .

* The Government of PRC was upset. On 10 December 1959 Peking radio announce a campaign for Chinese citizen to return to "The Warmth of Mother Land". The PRC Embassy in Jakarta soon list all the Chinese citizen interested to return to China. About 199 thousand apply, but only 102 thousand manage to be placed in a ship sent by The PRC government [ id Terusir dari Kampung Sendiri. Majalah Tempo edisi 13-19 Agustus 2007, hal 96-97.] [ id Arsip. Majalah Tempo 24 November 1990 dimuat pada Majalah Tempo edisi 13-19 Agustus 2007 ] . The tension between PRC Government and Government of Indonesia reduced after PRC Prime Minister Zhou Enlai met President Soekarno.

Pro and Cons

* According to Mestika Zed from Andalas University, Padang, West Sumatera; Asaat Datuk Mundo is a real nationalist and always react according to the fact and reality. The Economy of "pribumi" (Indoensian) after independence were weak, no certainty, and they have no one defending them. Meanwhile, even during the Dutch Imperialism the Chinese always have a better economy than the "pribumis". After Indonesian independence, they took over the economy from small, middle, and large scale. Assaat ideas later on was adopted by Tunku Abdul Rahman and Mahathir Mohammad as the Malaysian Economy Policy to protect the majority of Melayu etnic in Malaysia.

* From historical perspective, even in the beginning of Indonesian Independence the Chinese was always been suspected because they are divided into three groups; "Pro-Dutch", "Pro-Chinese Government", and "Pro Indonesian Nationalist Movement". There are also Indonesian Chinese agree that it was needed to do an assimilation or "pribumization" of Indonesian Chinese (also known as the Tionghoans) through religion (Islam and PITI as moslem organization. Buya Hamka for example, is included in this group. They have given their support and chances to Chinese-Indonesian to prove that they want to and try to become a "good Indonesian citizen". There are also a lot of cooperation between the Chinese and the Indonesians noted during Indonesian national movement. Even some of the prominent Chinese figures were trying hard to make the Chinese-Indonesian return to Indoensia. Yap Thiam Hien, a Chinese-Indonesian lawyer famous for his Indonesian nationalist idealism established Baperki (Indonesian Citizenship Discussion Body) on 1954. The organization purpose was to make Chinese-Indonesians willing to be an Indonesian citizen, specially to those that take side to The Dutch and The Chinese Government. This body also give a lot of contribution in proposing Indonesian Citizenship Law 1958 which implemented on the beginning of 1960 [ idEmpat Masa 'Persoalan Cina' oleh Tjung Ju Lan (Peneliti LIPI). Majalah Tempo Edisi 13-19 Agustus 2007.] . The discriminative rule also noted as an attempt to maintain politics of divide and conquer.

* Leo Suryadinata, a Chinese-Indonesian now teaching in NUS (National University of Singapore) think that both "fortress rules" or PP 10/ 1959 is a beginning anti-Chinese movement in Indonesia. According to Suryadinata during the colonialism by The Dutch, the Chinese-Indonesians were mostly small vendor retailers, but after Indonesian independence their position strengthen, that is why "pribumis" think that they can not compete and would like to take over the power by using the government.


127/U/Kep/12/1966 was an Indonesian law passed in 1966 that suggest an Indonesian-sounding names to be adopted by Indonesian Chinese. It is considered to be part of the anti-Chinese legislation in Indonesia. [cite web
title=Investigating the Grey Areas of the Chinese Communities in Southeast Asia
] The resident Chinese community in Indonesia resented it because it forced them to lose their traditional family name. However, some thwarted the government efforts to some degree by incorporating their Chinese name into their new Indonesian name. [cite web
title=Indonesian Chinese : about their names
] For example, the Chinese family name "Tan" was easily embedded in the Indonesian name "Sutanto".

They proliferated under the New Order regime under former President Suharto's reign. Suharto was a strong advocate for Chinese assimilation rather than integration. As part of 1967's 'Basic Policy for the Solution of the Chinese Problem' and other measures, all but one Chinese-language papers were closed, all Chinese religious expressions had to be confined to their homes, Chinese-language schools were phased out, Chinese script in public places was banned, and Chinese were encouraged to take on Indonesian-sounding names. [cite book |last=Schwarz |first=A. |year=1994 |title=A Nation in Waiting: Indonesia in the 1990s |publisher=Westview Press |pages=page 106|isbn=1-86373-635-2] Most of this legislation were revoked following Suharto's fall from power in 1998. []

Other examples

* Cabinet Presidium Instruction No. 37/U/IN/6/1967, which prohibits further residency or work permits to new Chinese immigrants, their wives, or children; freezing any capital raised by "foreigners" in Indonesia; closure of "foreign" schools except for diplomatic corps and their families; the number of Indonesian students must be the majority and in proportion to "foreigners" in any state schools; and that implementation of the "Chinese issue" will henceforth be the responsibility of the minister for political affairs.
* Presidential Instruction No. 14/1967 (Inpres No. 14/1967) on Chinese Religion, Beliefs, and Traditions, which effectively ban any Chinese literatures and cultures in Indonesia, including the prohibition of Chinese characters. Although Chinese names are not explicitly mentioned, "newly naturalized" Indonesian Chinese were strongly advised to do so. (Annulled by former president Abdurrahman Wahid in Keppres No. 6/2000; annulment supported by former president Megawati Soekarnoputri in Keppres No 19/2002 by declaring Chinese Lunar New Year as national holiday)
* Resolution of the Provisional People's Consultative Assembly No. 32, 1966 (TAP MPRS No. 32/1966), which effectively banned the use of Chinese characters in newspapers and magazines.
* Presidium Directive No. 240/1967 (Inpres No. 240/1967) which mandates assimilation of "foreigners" and support the previous directive of 127/U/Kep/12/1966 for Indonesian Chinese to adopt Indonesian-sounding names.
* Home Affairs Ministry No. 455.2-360/1988 on Regulation of Temples, which effectively and severely restrict building or repairing Chinese temples.
* Circular of the Director General for Press and Graphics Guidance in the Ministry of Information No.02/SE/Ditjen-PPGK/1988, which further restrict the usage of Chinese language and/or characters.
* Instruction of the Ministry of Home Affairs No. X01/1977 on Implementing Instructions for Population Registration and the confidential instructions No.3.462/1.755.6 of the Jakarta government January 28, 1980 both authorize special codes in national identification cards to indicate ethnic Chinese origin. The code was "A01" prefix.
* Cabinet Presidium Circular SE-06/Pres-Kab/6/1967 on Changing the Term China and Chinese, requires the usage of the term "Cina" (which is considered a derogatory term by many Chinese Indonesians) instead of "Tionghoa" (as ethnic Chinese refer to themselves).

Anomalies and exceptions

There are exceptions to laws and regulations that ban the use of Mandarin. The use of Mandarin in traditional Chinese medicine prescriptions, for example, is not prohibited, since the legal proceedings related to this case have been suspended after lobbying made to the Attorney General (Jaksa Agung) of Indonesia by INI (Ikatan Naturopatis Indonesia)

Current practice

Although some of this legislation has been revoked or is no longer applicable, much of it still persists in practice. For an example, the requirement of Chinese Indonesian, including their Indonesian born descendants, to possess nationalization or repatriarchization certificates in order to obtain legal documents.


External links

* [ Pembaharuan Hukum Catatan Sipil dan Penghapusan Diskriminasi di Indonesia] at id icon
* Frans Hendra Winarta. [ "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika Belum Menjadi Kenyataan Menjelang HUT Kemerdekaan RI Ke-59."] 4 August 2004. Accessed 25 February 2008. id icon

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