Historical Memories of Aceh Chinese and Its Impacts on Identity and belonging

Project Details


Social harmony within Indonesia has infamously been disturbed by various ethnoreligious hostilities. Several anti-Chinese violence, for example, May incident in 1998 and anti-Ahok movement in 2016 and 2017 is undoubtedly showing evidence for the Chinese – Indonesians' struggles to find their place in the national belonging within the Indonesian nation. The case of Aceh – Chinese is an interesting case for understanding the complex situations of the Chinese - Indonesians for several reasons. First, the province at the northern tip of Sumatra had been facing a long struggle of wars, particularly the 30 years war between GAM (Free Aceh Movement) and Indonesian state which resulted in thousands of deaths. Second, in the post-conflict, when Aceh granted political autonomy and the peace agreement was eventually signed, Islam has been seen as a priority, and this has given the religious minority groups a dormant citizen status. Third, information about Aceh's Chinese community during the wars as well as in the post-conflict is still lacking. Thus, the research here aims to investigate Ache's Chinese memories and narratives from 1976 until present days. It focuses on analysing how the military conflict impacts on the Chinese and concentrates on the following questions: how do Acehnese narratives of conflict from 1976 shape collective memory and postmemory of Aceh's Chinese? How does Aceh's Chinese interpret and understand Acehnese nationalism and Indonesian nationalism during the time of Aceh Independence movement and post-conflict? and How do memories and narratives impact Aceh's Chinese identity and intercultural activism in Aceh?
Short titleHistorical Memories of Aceh’s Chinese
StatusNot started


  • Aceh
  • Acehnese nationalism
  • Indonesian nationalism
  • Chinese Indonesian
  • Memory
  • Interculturalism