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Pride for Chinese living in Indonesia
The leadership transition in China has become a source of pride for Ethnic Chinese living in Indonesia, as Helen Brown reports.


This week's events in Beijing have been beamed around the world.

And in places like Indonesia, Beijing's rising influence has become a source of pride for ethnic Chinese who were long discriminated against.

Indonesia correspondent Helen Brown reports from Jakarta.
Transcript
(Footage of Sumi Yang filming plays)

HELEN BROWN, REPORTER: For four hours every day, TV host Sumi Yang is in front of the studio cameras at one of Indonesia's national channels.

And as host of a show ,for one of her segments she speaks in Mandarin, the language taught to her by her parents.

SUMI YANG, TV PRESENTER: It's really my parents, my father every day updating about Chinese issues, and especially now on going the acting CBC Congress. He always watch the news and keep calling his friend and talk about this, discussion about China.

HELEN BROWN: Sumi Yang's parents are third generation Indonesian. But they've retained a connection to China that means they're taking an interest in the country's once in a decade leadership handover.

The Chinese have been making their way to Indonesia for centuries, and are a diverse grouping. And while some are ardently following the political events in China. Others are not as engaged.

MALE 1: (translation): About the leadership change in China, I don't think I know about it. But I am aware of the economic development.

HELEN BROWN: And while China's new political structure may not be a topic of conversation, China's rise in world power definitely is.


MALE 2 (translation): Yes, mostly because we are fellow Asians, even though it is not our country but I still feel proud.

MALE 1 (translation): In terms of the world economy, my feeling is that it can become number one.

HELEN BROWN: It wasn't that long ago that Chinese Indonesians were better off hiding their ethnicity. People of Chinese descent were among the targets of the 1965 massacres against suspected communists.

And then, under the new authoritarian rule of former president Suharto, there was a ban on Chinese language and rituals. People were even encouraged to change their names to sound less Chinese. It's only in the past decade that discriminatory policies have been erased.

While the shift has come from policy reforms, China's rise in strength has given it legitimacy.

SUMI YANG: My father always said that be very proud of China because you can see 30 years before China is left behind in Indonesia. But now we can see China, 30 years later China has become the largest economy in the world. And he keeps saying he feels proud every day to me.

(Footage of riots in Glodok plays)

HELEN BROWN: Jakarta's Chinatown called Glodok was the scene of the most recent atrocities against the Chinese. It was here that mobs rioted on the streets as Suharto's reign came to a violent end. Chinese women were victims of a cruel campaign of mass rape. Businesses were loot and burned, many left the country for a short time or forever, unable to stomach Indonesia's animosity anymore.

It's hard to know exactly how many Indonesians consider themselves to be ethnic Chinese. In a survey held only four years after the end of Suhartos' harsh attitude only 0.8 per cent identified themselves as such. A decade later and researchers say the figure could be as high as 3 per cent, which would mean more than 7 million people.

SUMI YANG: I love Indonesia but I also feel proud to what China achieve now.

HELEN BROWN: While the political moves in China may not be of much general interest to Indonesians, the country's rising status is being taken note of.
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