Explaining Anti-Chinese Riots in Late 20th Century Indonesia

Explaining Anti-Chinese Riots in Late 20th Century Indonesia

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Source: World Development Vol. 39, No. 2, pp. 231–242, 2011

In this essay we ask why anti-Chinese riots took place in some Indonesian cities but not in others during the upheaval of May 1998. Employing process-tracing within a sub-national comparison of four cities, we argue that anti-Chinese riots in May 1998 were a frame-shifting strategy employed by security forces to distract public attention from their failure to control anti-government student demonstrations. Anti-Chinese rioting took place only where the local government and the security forces failed to limit the repertoires and spatial reach of protests used by prior student demonstrators.

 

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