2010 | 54 | 1-2 | 89-111
Article title

CHINESE MINORITY AMONG INDONESIAN POPULATION. THE CASE STUDY FROM WEST SUMATRA (Mniejszosc chinska posród ludnosci indonezyjskiej. Studium przypadku z Sumatry Zachodniej)

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The Chinese minority is one of the largest ethnic groups of foreign origin living in Indonesia. While almost all of its members are Indonesia-born and speak Indonesian, often along with one of the local languages, many of them up-hold traditions from their ancestors' land. Furthermore, all but a few follow one of the minority religions in a mostly Muslim country. That, together with a long and complicated history of relations of the Chinese minority with the local population, results in mutual distrust and isolation of modern indigenous Indonesians and those of Chinese origin. The article is an attempt to describe and explain briefly those relations as part of complex Asian ethnic reality. However, as Indonesian society consists of hundreds of local ethnic groups and acknowledging the differences among the Chinese communities from various parts of the Indonesian archipelago, the article concentrates on one chosen example of West Sumatra. The present ethnic relations between the local Chinese community and Minangkabau, the indigenous ethnic group predominant in the province, are shown in the context of local social history (beginning with the Dutch era) as well as in the national politics in independent Republic of Indonesia. The article tells about the religious, cultural, identity and economic aspects of the problem. It also shows how the ethnic situation affects the urban space of Padang, the capital city of the West Sumatran province. Although it is a case study of the ethnic relations of two particular groups, it highlights the broader phenomenon of which those relations are a part, showing both - what is common in the Chinese Indonesians' situation in various regions and what is specific for West Sumatran case.
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  • Dobrochna Olszewska
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