Chinese Indonesians

Chinese Indonesians, previously known as the Indonesian Chinese, are Indonesian descended from various Chinese ethnic groups, particularly Han; this includes both those who immigrated to Indonesia or the former Dutch East Indies colony. This migration was done both directly and through Maritime Southeast Asia. Their population grew rapidly during the colonial period when workers were contracted from their home provinces in southern China. Indonesia's 2010 census reported more than 8.8 million self-identified ethnic Chinese: 3.7 percent of the country's population.

Under the Dutch ethnic classification policy, Chinese Indonesians were considered "foreign orientals"; as such, they struggled to enter the colonial and national sociopolitical scene, despite successes in their economic endeavors. Evidence of discrimination against Chinese Indonesians can be found throughout the history of Indonesia, although government policies implemented since 1998 have attempted to redress this. Resentment of ethnic Chinese economic aptitude grew in the 1950s as native Indonesian merchants felt they could not remain competitive. In some cases, government action only propagated the stereotype that ethnic Chinese-owned conglomerates were corrupt. Although the 1997 Asian financial crisis severely disrupted their business activities, reform of government policy and legislation removed a number of political and social restrictions on Chinese Indonesians.

The development of local Chinese society and culture is based upon three pillars: clan associations, ethnic media, and Chinese language schools. These flourished during the period of Chinese nationalism in the final years of China's Qing Dynasty and through the Second Sino-Japanese War; however, differences in the object of nationalist sentiments brought about a split in the population. One group supported political reforms in mainland China, while others worked towards improved status in local politics. The New Order government (1967–1998) dismantled the pillars of ethnic Chinese identity in favor of assimilation policies as a solution to the "Chinese Problem". Patterns of assimilation and ethnic interaction can be found in Indonesia's literature, architecture, and cuisine.

The Chinese Indonesian population of Java accounts for nearly half of the group's national population. Although they are generally more urbanized than Indonesia's indigenous population, significant rural and agricultural communities exist throughout the country. Declining fertility rates have resulted in an upward shift in the population pyramid as the median age increases. Emigration has contributed to a shrinking population, and communities have emerged in more industrialized nations in the second half of the 20th century. Some participated in repatriation programs to the People's Republic of China, while others emigrated to Western countries to escape anti-Chinese sentiment. Among the overseas residents, their identities are noticeably more Indonesian than Chinese.

Read more about Chinese IndonesiansIdentity, Origins, Demographics, Society

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