Forced assimilation and development : the Chinese-Indonesians under Soeharto's New Order (1965-1998) : a research project presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of International Development, Development Studies, Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand

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Chinese Indonesians are an ethnic minority who have settled in Indonesia since at least the 15th century who comprise 1.2% of the Indonesian population. From 1965-1998, Chinese-Indonesians became subject to various assimilationist laws under the rationale that this ethnic minority had failed to integrate into Indonesian society. Under Soeharto’s administration, Chinese-Indonesians had to give up their political and cultural rights, although they were allowed to participate widely in the economic sector. This desk-based research studied assimilationist laws and their impact on the ‘development’ of Chinese-Indonesians by studying various laws and through the use of an online questionnaire to a sample of Chinese-Indonesians. At first glance, this ethnic group can be classified as ‘developed’ at least economically, however when investigated further, systemic political and cultural exclusion has harmed their full human development. The case of Chinese-Indonesians reflects Amartya Sen’s argument in ‘Development as Freedom (1999), that wealth is only one aspect of human development. However care should be taken when considering the Chinese-Indonesian case. Generalisations should not be made about the harms that can result from assimilation policies as they were formulated during the Cold War. Assimilation is still important but should not be coercive and ensure multiple identities (such as ethnic and national identity) can coexist. This research report also uses right to development as framework. It concludes that the right to development may not be inclusive to Chinese-Indonesians’ situations because it still narrow down development as ‘growth’.
Chinese, Chinese-Indonesians, Social conditions, History, International development, Development studies, Indonesia, Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION::History and philosophy subjects::History subjects::History