chapter  11
Contextualizing Chinese Indonesian Entrepreneurship: Juliette Koning
Pages 12

The year 1998 was a year full of contrasts for Chinese Indonesians. It was the year that ended the authoritarian regime of President Suharto whose New Order government had installed strict policies aimed at erasing ‘Chineseness.’ Paradoxically, it was also the year that saw one of the more violent attacks against the ethnic Chinese minority. A lingering economic crisis of rising prices for basic foods, fuel, and energy brought people to the streets to protest; in some places these protests changed into massive attacks on people of Chinese descent. Many Chinese Indonesians were killed or raped, and houses and shops were set afi re. How and why this happened is still unresolved, but it does follow a pattern in Indonesian history in which people of Chinese descent become scapegoats in times of national upheaval. The ethnic Chinese minority cannot rid itself of the stereotype of being extremely wealthy related to their business presence and their entrepreneurship, and this image sparks strong reactions in times of crises.