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Date: Sat, 25 Oct 1997 01:16:58 -0400
Sender: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@msu.edu>
Subject: Fwd: IN: ICMI member wants ethnic Chinese banned from some

"Ban ethnic Chinese" from some industries in Indonesia

From the Straits Times
25 October 1997

JAKARTA -- A leading Indonesian has called for the government to ban ethnic Chinese from some economic activities in a bid to avoid racial tensions here, The Jakarta Post reported yesterday.

"A government ruling that keeps people of Chinese descent from business fields traditionally run by their indigenous counterparts will avoid further ethnic tension," said Mr Rudini, who is a former Home Affairs Minister and a retired general.

He said such a ruling would prevent small businesses from being swallowed up by larger companies, especially those belonging to the ethnic Chinese.

Mr Rudini, who sits on the board of the Association of Muslim Intellectuals (ICMI), which is close to the government, was speaking at a preview of a national dialogue on harmonious relationships among various ethnic groups in Indonesia.

The dialogue is scheduled for Tuesday. The former minister added that "the government could expand the protective measures to informal sectors".

"The protective regulations should clearly define areas in which ethnic Chinese are allowed to run their business," noted Mr Rudini, who is also the chairman of the Institute for Strategic Studies of Indonesia. However, he did not set out a list of the areas of activity which should be barred to ethnic Chinese.

The ethnic Chinese represent less than 5 per cent of the country's population of 200 million. But according to general estimates, they control between 60 and 80 per cent of Indonesia's economic activity.

Ethnic Chinese are banned from studying or using their own language and cannot celebrate their religious festivals publicly.

They have also often been the target of violence which have shaken parts of the country.

"We have learned that it is the shops and houses owned by ethnic Chinese that always become the target of vandalism in riots, no matter what triggered the riots," said Mr Rudini.

He added that ethnic Chinese businessmen should encourage a more balanced economy by helping their indigenous counterparts improve their competitive power.

They should also help to increase the income of their indigenous counterparts, he said.

"The Chinese descents are Indonesian citizens who have to apply economic democracy as stipulated by the state ideology, Pancasila," he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

A series of sectarian riots in Java prior to the May 29 general election deteriorated into anti-Chinese sentiments.

Last month, during the last race riots to hit Indonesia, a mob attacked Chinese people and their property in Ujungpandang, damaging 1,500 shops, dozens of houses as well as hundreds of vehicles, which were mostly set on fire. -- AFP.

Copyright =A9 1997 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.

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