‘A hundred flowers bloom’: The re-emergence of the Chinese press in post-Suharto Indonesia
During the whole 32 years of Suharto’s regime (1966-98), Chinese publications and the use of Chinese language in public were officially banned in Indonesia. As a result, printed matter in Chinese characters that entered Indonesia was classified as ‘prohibited imports’ (Heryanto 1999: 327). This prohibition came to an end after the fall of Suharto, as part of the process of democratization and Reformasi. The post-Suharto era of Reformasi is thus celebrated for the dramatic revival of the freedom of the press and media in Indonesia and many previously banned as well as new publications have emerged since Suharto’s fall. The Chinese press and media joined this florescence and many new Chinese-language daily newspapers and magazines soon appeared. A local Chinese media expert describes this period as ‘the time when a hundred flowers bloom (baihua qifang)’ (Li, Z. H. 2003: 323).