Witnesses said the mob shouted "Let's wipe out the Chinese" and "Let's kill the Chinese" as they rampaged through. Indonesia's ethnic Chinese are a frequent target during times of hardship due to their perceived wealth in the largely Moslem nation and control of local commerce. (Reuters, 13 May 1998)
At least 10 people died in riots in Jakarta Wednesday, nine of them believed to be Chinese burned when mobs set their shops and homes on fire, residents in the western area of the Indonesian capital said. (CNN, 13 May 1998)
Much of the most recent violence in Indonesia has been targeted at the Chinese community. Chinese-owned shops in north and west Jakarta were looted and set ablaze on Wednesday night. Reports have confirmed that nine people were killed when a bar was set on fire overnight in the city's Chinese quarter. (BBC News, 14 May 1998)
Recently, anti-Chinese ethnic turbulence has been spread in some areas in Indonesia, and the worst riot hit in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, on May 13, 1998. On the May 1998 alone, there were several riots that were followed by looting, killing, raping and other violent acts against Chinese Indonesians and also the destruction of churches and other Chinese owned buildings in Indonesia.
In early May 1998, riots had taken place in Medan, and in the following days they began spreading to several big cities in Indonesia, namely Jakarta, Solo, Palembang, Surabaya, Yogyakarta and Ujung Pandang. These riots have turned into anti-Chinese pogroms similar to past incidents that often happened in Indonesia. Since the year of 1966, the ethnic Chinese in Indonesia have been the target of inhumane murder and pillage by the indigenous Indonesians. Not less than half a million of the Chinese ethnic minority in Indonesia were killed. They lost countless wealth to looting by indigenous Indonesians. All this happened without any regard from the Indonesian government.
Now, apparently all of these incidents would not be the last but may be rekindled in the near future. As observed from these incidents, the anti-Chinese sentiment in Indonesia was apparently derived from political issues - not from social issues as some indigenous politicians claim. Some powerful political groups have succeeded in implementing anti-Chinese doctrine in Indonesia, casting the Chinese Indonesians as the target of the indigenous Indonesians as part their political rhetoric.
These ideas are present in many statements which attempt to scapegoat the ethnic Chinese whenever there was a political problem, as well as in the recent crisis in Indonesia. Regretfully the statements were mostly issued by some leaders of intellectual religious organizations and even some higher government officials.
It is not impossible that all of anti-Chinese incidents were mobilized by a powerful politic organization in Indonesia. Some of their statements are noted below:
Beside the above statements, some improper actions taken by the Indonesian government regarding to the anti-Chinese incidents in Indonesia indicate that the political movements behind the anti-Chinese riots involve some powerful leaders of the armed forces as well as high-ranking government officials. These actual actions taken by the Indonesian government support the facts :
We are the Chinese Indonesians would like to ask for helping hand from all of the International Communities who care about the life and death of Chinese Indonesians in Indonesia which are now living in fear and danger:
To avoid the same incident on the future, we the Chinese Indonesians call on all International Communities to do the following:
Finally, we hope that our voice would be heard by the International Community, from the deepest of love we thank your for your cares.