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The Chinese of Indonesia and Their Search for Identity: The Relationship Between Coll ...

Chapter :  Introduction
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The Chinese of Indonesia and Their Search for Identity:

Introduction

Identity only becomes an issue when it is in crisis, when something assumed to be fixed, coherent and stable is displaced by the experience of doubt and uncertainty.

—Mercer, 1990, p. 43

In 1965 the Suharto regime implemented a policy of forced assimilation1 that compelled the Chinese Indonesian population to abandon their Chinese culture and language. The government closed all Chinese-language schools and ruled that children of Chinese descent enroll only in Indonesian-language schools. The government also prohibited the use of Chinese characters in public spaces, the import of Chinese-language publications, and all forms and expressions that could be traced to be of Chinese cultural origin, such as the public celebration of the lunar new year (Tan, 1999). Furthermore, a tract issued by the government