Discrimination Against Chinese-Indonesians in Disaster Area Have Been Heard

Authorities are receiving reports of Chinese-Indonesians being denied of food and medicines, forced to dig graves, and robbed
( [email protected] ) Jan 06, 2005 01:17 AM EST

According to a recent report from Jakarta, Chinese-Indonesians are being discriminated in some disaster areas such as Aceh and North Sumatra, Indonesia. A local Chinese-Indonesian said, Chinese-Indonesians are denied food and medicines, forced to dig graves, robbed and even were killed. The Chairman of the Indonesian Chinese Association (INTI), Setiono stated that people received short messages about this statement by SMS service recently.

According to some messages, Chinese-Indonesians are being a scapegoat in the tsunami. The messages claim that some Chinese-Indonesians are not allowed safely to get board flight away from Banda Aceh.

The Chairman Sentiono told Indonesians not be influenced by political gain. Some INTI volunteers who are working in refugee camps in Aceh and North Sumatra said, "It is not surprised to hear about the discrimination issue because of lack of security as an aftermath of the tsunami. People are still lacking in food and daily supplies, and cannot get necessary demand on time by the relief organizations.

Chinese-Indonesians are discriminated because they are wealthier compared to the local population. Some locals think Chinese-Indonesians are better off than they even though the Chinese-Indonesians were also affected by the tsunami. The Chairman Sentiono pointed out a case of discrimination in which a Chinese family had to pay much more money than the locals would pay. They paid 400 rupiahs (US $44) to remove the body by motorbike transportation. Similarly, some Chinese-Indonesians were forced to pay higher prices for their tickets to flee Banda Aceh by plane. However, Chinese-Indonesians have not been the only victims of extortions. The wealthy Achenese have been as well.

INTI is setting up a center to avoid the discrimination statements from becoming more rampid. Information on discrimination can adversly affect the flow of rescue relief effort if it is reported immoderately.