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Ethnic Chinese teenager commits suicide after gang rape by Indonesian mob

May 1998

The local SCTV yesterday had another heart-breaking interview with a newly form ethnic Chinese political party (Partai Pembauran Indonesia) leader, Jusuf Hamka who said the ethnic Chinese are always made scapegoats during any national crisis and strife, like the clash between PDI Party members last year and the Reform movement. The mass main targets on which they release their anger is the property and life of the ethnic Chinese . He warned, be not misled by the local reports that about 51,000 ethnic Chinese out of 150,000 ethnic Chinese and foreigners who fled the country during the riots have returned to Indonesia just to get their destroyed business restarted.

"They came back because they just want to reassess the situation. The majority just want to settle business matters like the sale of their properties, before immigrating abroad. They feel unsafe, and were discriminated against unhumanely,"Jusuf said.

Jusuf then related the very sad tragedy broadcast by Hong Kong TV two nights ago. A rape victim's mother told the HK TV in a live interview that a group of rapists during the Jakarta riot stripped off her daughter's clothes and forced her to run onto the 26th floor, where they gang-raped her. After the rape, the rapists left. The frightened girl was very depressed and dismayed. She then cut one of her fingers and wrote on a piece of paper with her blood, asking her parents for forgiveness for her decision to end her life, because she was too ashamed to face civilized society. The girl then commited suicide. The blood-written note was shown on HK TV. And the narrator's voice choked and he could not go on.

There are too many such tragedies to be told. Read the article written by a anthropology professor of National University of Singapore entitled "Kapok Non Pri", in which he told of the racist, discriminatory acts designated exclusively for the Chinese.This is exemplified in the case of over 100 women raped in the broad daylight in the presence of hundreds of onlookers. This incident received no attention from the media and no public sympathy. In contrast, a rape case involving a pribumi (native) Tangerang old woman which happened in darkness last year received nationwide media coverage and condemnation.

The use of the Chinese language is banned in Indonesia and Chinese publications are classified as dangerous goods together with narcotics, explosives and the like on the Indonesian Customs Declaration form. The Solo Chinese are even prohibited to make and sell Kue Keranjang. (nian gao, the Chinese New Year cake) The fleeing victims of recent riots were charged by a MPR member as being "unpatriotic" and threatened with having their names registered and their trade licenses revoked. The basis of the punishment is "because they ran away after their shops were looted and burned and their family members raped".

Food is getting scarcer and the prices are skyrocketing after the looting and destruction of all Chinese rice mills. The mayors of Tebing Tinggi and Tanjung Balai, towns which suffered the heaviest loss during the riots, sent circulars to all shop owners, including the victims, ordering them to open their businesses immediately. "Rome was not built in one day."

A victim in Tebing Tinggi did follow the mayor's instructions. The next day, he placed a placard in front of his empty doorless shop with its burnt-out racks and furniture still visible, reading "This shop is open for 24 hours". What a good and cynical idea from thoughtless govt officials who have no sympathy with the victims at all. They have no response to the riots except oppression and extortion.