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Migration in the Time of RevolutionChina, Indonesia, and the Cold War$
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Taomo Zhou

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501739934

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501739934.001.0001

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Pribumi Perceptions of the “Chinese Problem”

Pribumi Perceptions of the “Chinese Problem”

(p.97) Chapter 5 Pribumi Perceptions of the “Chinese Problem”
Migration in the Time of Revolution

Taomo Zhou

Cornell University Press

This chapter assesses how the Indonesian government conducted surveillance of Chinese communities. It demonstrates that, with the advance of the Cold War in Asia, the Indonesian authorities interpreted the ethnic Chinese's oftentimes spontaneous political activism as a systematic infiltration led by Beijing. Some anti-Communist pribumi elites saw Beijing as a strong external power intervening in Indonesian politics and ignored its waning ability to rein in the factional infighting in the Chinese community. Moreover, despite a huge variation in ideological inclinations and economic status among the ethnic Chinese, the pribumi elites tended to treat them as a monolithic group that was simultaneously Communist and capitalist. In 1959, under the pretext of reducing economic stratification, the Indonesian government suspended noncitizen Chinese retailers' business activities in rural areas and legitimized the takeover of foreign enterprises by indigenous merchants.

Keywords:   Indonesian government, Chinese communities, Cold War, Indonesian authorities, ethnic Chinese, political activism, pribumi elites, surveillance, business activities

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