Front Page







World Summary

On Air


Talking Point


Low Graphics


Site Map

Monday, February 16, 1998 Published at 18:05 GMT

World: Analysis

Indonesia's ethnic tension: A chronology

Over the past few weeks there have been widespread riots in Indonesia over rising food prices linked to the country's financial crisis. Many of the attacks have been directed against shops owned by ethnic Chinese.

Ethnic Chinese account for only about 3% of Indonesia's population, but their disproportionate wealth is strongly resented by other citizens.

Here is a round-up of the recent flashpoints:

February 16, 1998 - Thousands take part in street demonstrations in Sumatran town of Pagar Alam. Social unrest along with reports of a disagreement between President Suharto and the International Monetary Fund hit the Indonesian rupiah.

Dispute reports weaken rupiah

February 14, 1998 - At least four people killed by troops in violence in several towns in West Java and the island of Lombok. More than 150 people arrested. The commercial centre of Pamanukan town is reported to be in ruins. Ethnic Chinese residents fled after dozens of buildings, most of them Chinese-owned shops, were smashed and burned by mainly Muslim demonstrators.
Appeal for halt to racist attacks in Indonesia
Analysis: Why ethnic Chinese are afraid

February 13, 1998 - Police report riots in Losari, Gebang, Pamanukan and Jatiwangi - all on the main island of Java.

In Losari police said 30 Chinese shops were damaged. Goods were looted and set on fire in the main street. Dozens of shops in Bandung were closed amid fears that the violence would spread. In Pamanukan more than a thousand people burned shops and cars.
'Worst' riots yet in Indonesia

February 12, 1998 - Violence in Jatiwangi, where several hundred people attacked shops owned by the ethnic Chinese minority.
Suharto puts military on alert

February 11, 1998 - Around 100 protesters detained after they demonstrated against government corruption and price rises in the capital, Jakarta.
Indonesian prices protest ends in arrests

February 9, 1998 - Nusa provincial governor says robbers and looters encouraged protests against businesses owned by ethnic Chinese on the island of Flores.
Indonesian authorities blame 'criminals' for unrest

February 7, 1998 - A large crowd attacks shops owned by ethnic Chinese on the island of Sumbawa. Armed forces commander orders troops to take stern action against anyone trying to disturb national stability.
More unrest in Indonesia over rising prices

February 2, 1998 - On Sulawesi, a local military official in the port of Donggala says about 2,000 people attack shops rumoured to be raising prices. Similar protests by about a thousand people in the east Javanese town of Pasuruan.

January 28, 1998 - Troops and police deployed on streets of Kragan after several shops damaged by a crowd protesting over rumours of a rise in the price of cooking fuel.
Price rise fears spark looting on Indonesian island

January 24, 1998 - A crowd in the town of Kraksaan in East Java attacks and loots food shops.

December 24, 1997 - Muslim protesters use iron bars and stones to destroy a church near Jakarta. Roman Catholic cardinal of Jakarta urges Christians -- many of them ethnic Chinese -- to keep Christmas celebrations simple.
Religious violence flares up again in Indonesia


Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage


Link to BBC Homepage

  Relevant Stories

12 Feb 98 | World
Indonesia: Why ethnic Chinese are afraid

24 Jan 98 | World
An Indonesian idyll

24 Jan 98 | World
Indonesia's Economic Decline

15 Jan 98 | Despatches
Where now for Indonesia ?

22 Dec 97 | World
Indonesia's 'Annus Horribilis'

  Internet Links

Indonesian Government homepage

Jakarta Stock Exchange

Indonesia Online

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.