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Unformatted text preview: rely on money politics to make their claims. As the experience under the New Order shows, however, in the long term such a strategy only increases vulnerability and disempowers the minority as a whole. A way to go ismail13.jpg *Offerings for a brighter future - Bon Tek Bio temple (anno1684) in Tangerang West Java 2008* /Henri Ismail/ The enormous improvement in the legal situation of ethnic Chinese Indonesians since 1998 has allowed them the freedom to express and explore their ethnicity and religious identities and to participate more fully in social and political life as Indonesian citizens. But while anti-Chinese sentiment per se may be declining, challenges to religious freedom and the rise of ethnic politics represent a new frontier for Indonesia?s Chinese community. The rise of the mega-church within sections of the evangelical Christian movement and including Chinese Indonesian followers may be taken as a sign of strength for Christians at a time of worrying challenges to pluralism. But as well-known intellectual and Jesuit theologian Frans Magnis Suseno observes, ?Religious freedom is a fact, but it is also a fact that our state is a weak state and doesn?t dare to enforce the law if state people think that it is against the religious feelings of the majority.? The ten years after the reformasi movement have opened opportunities for all citizens to challenge the ?nationalist project? in Indonesia. However, supporters of pluralism and many people in Indonesian human rights groups believe minority rights must continue to be strongly defended. The ?multiple minority? status of most ethnic Chinese and their limited role in regional politics dominated by identity politics, means they rely greatly on the national political and legal institutions to protect their rights as citizens. More than ever, then, it is the responsibility of Chinese Indonesians themselves, together with other minorities and human rights advocates, to actively defend pluralism and minority rights. *ii* /*Je**mma Purdey (firstname.lastname@example.org)* is a researcher in the Centre of Southeast Asian Studies at Monash University and a member of the Inside Indonesia board. She is the author of /Anti-Chinese Violence in Indonesia, 1996-1999./ NUS Publishing, Singapore, 2006. / Inside Indonesia 95: Jan-Mar 2009 Close Window <#>...
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