Indonesian president vows equal treatment, opportunities for Indonesian-Chinese

20:53, February 20, 2010      

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Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promises Saturday to improve the government's efforts in guaranteeing civil rights of ethnic Chinese living in the country.

Addressing the national celebration of the Chinese New Year, the president said that he would order religious affairs minister, national education minister, central and regional governments to continue their efforts in securing civil rights of ethnic Chinese following the recognition of their existence and their belief, Confucianism, as one of the religions officially regarded by the state.

"There have been significant progresses in the state's efforts to provide equal civil rights to our Chinese brothers. The civil registration offices have registered many marriages under Confucianism teaching. In education sectors, many ethnic Chinese students were seen studying in state schools,"the president said in the celebration held in the capital's landmark convention center.

According to the president, the government's efforts to provide equal services to ethnic Chinese was based on the existing Law No. 12/2006 that regulates citizenship in Indonesia.

Based on the law, he pointed out that there should not be another discrimination against any ethnic living in Indonesia if they demonstrate good willingness to become good citizen.

"Ethnic Chinese are integral part of our country. We must preserve our togetherness by respecting each other,"he said.

Recognition on the Confucianism and Chinese entity in the country was endorsed by Indonesia's fourth president Abdurrahman Wahid in 2000.

The 11th national celebration of Chinese New Year in Indonesia was filled with a speech to honor Abdurrahman Wahid, conveyed by Indonesian Confucianism (Matakin) Chairman Budisantosa Tanuwibowo.

He said that ethnic Chinese have been suppressed before Abdurrahman took the presidency office in 1999.

Due to their belief, they faced difficulties in organizing ID cards and arranging marriages. Besides that, the previous government also set special policy for ethnic Chinese who want to enter state schools and the seeking jobs in state institutions, he added.

"After the first national Chinese New Year celebration held on Feb. 17, 2000, attended by Abdurrahman Wahid, all that troubles were gone since then. Chairman of the highest legal consideration institution (Constitution Commission) had also declared Confucianism a part of recognized religions in Indonesia," Budisantosa said.

Source: Xinhua
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