A genocide that never was: explaining the myth of anti-Chinese massacres in Indonesia, 1965-66
AbstractMany publications refer incorrectly to extensive massacres of Chinese in Indonesia in 1965�66. Approximately half a million people were killed in this period, but the victims were overwhelmingly members and associates of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). Chinese Indonesians experienced serious harassment but relatively few were killed. The persistence of this myth is attributed to a trope dating back to the seventeenth century which equates the social position of Chinese in Indonesia with that of Jews in Europe and which thus predicts periodic pogroms and attempts at genocide. The myth has survived partly because it inspires a sense of urgency in combating discrimination against Chinese Indonesians, but it encourages a misunderstanding of the causes of intense violence in Indonesia and raises serious moral issues concerning genocide denial by substitution.