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Thursday, August 13, 1998 Published at 09:15 GMT 10:15 UK


Ethnic Chinese hit by fresh Indonesia riots

Riot police are on alert in expectation of more trouble

Indonesian police say angry mobs have attacked shops owned by ethnic Chinese businessmen in a town in west Java.

Hundreds of people are reported to have stoned and then ransacked three shops in the coastal town of Labuan after a dispute over prices.

In a separate incident, demonstrators are reported to have attacked and set on fire a hotel nightclub in the town of Serang, following a protest against vice.

Vehicles were also set alight, and police fired warning shots to disperse the crowd.

Thousands of soldiers are reported to have been deployed in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, following rumours that riots would break out on 17 August, Indonesia's independence day.

Protests in China

According to one report from Beijing, students there have demonstrated outside the Indonesian embassy in protest at the attacks on ethnic Chinese in Indonesia. The Chinese government, which rarely tolerates student protests, made an exception in this case.

In the past month, the Chinese foreign ministry has been calling for speedier investigations to punish those responsible.

Indonesia's Chinese community, perceived as wealthy, has been singled out by other Indonesians who blame them for the country's current economic problems. Ethnic Chinese shopkeepers were a target of the riots earlier this year, which led to the fall of President Suharto.





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