Migration in the Time of Revolution: China, Indonesia, and the Cold War

Migration in the Time of Revolution: China, Indonesia, and the Cold War
Taomo Zhou, author
Date of publication:  2019
Publisher:  Cornell University Press / ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute
Number of pages:  302
Code:  BM577
Soft Cover
ISBN: 9789814843331
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来自 / 联合早报; 文 / 章星虹


Claudine, Salmon, Archipel 99, 2020.

"In this book, Tamao Zhou investigates the ethnic Chinese dimension in the making of the governmental relations between China and Indonesia, from the surrender of the Japanese in 1945 up to 1967 - year which marks the breakdown of diplomatic relations between the PRC and Indonesia - with numerous flashbacks into the first half of the 20th century.

In the introduction, the author explains that she relied on the Chinese Foreign Ministry Archives (declassified in 2008, but reclassified in 2013), as well as those of the Chinese Communist Party, the Guomingdang, and the National Archives of the Republic of Indonesia (partly destroyed during the chaotic transition of power after the regime change in 1965). In order to complement these sources, she also consulted the materials kept in various libraries, especially in the PRC and Hong Kong, as well as the family archives of the journalist and writer Wang Renshu I(pen name Baren, 1901 - 1972, who had spent five years in Sumatra in the late 1940s before becoming the first ambassador of the PRC to Indonesia in 1951). She also grounded her research on numerous oral history interviews with refugees, retired diplomats, members of the Chinese community in Indonesia, and Chinese from Indonesia who migrated to the PRC where they were relocated in Overseas Chinese farms."

Bernard Z. Keo, Inside Indonesia, 2020.


About the publication

Migration in the Time of Revolution examines how two of the world’s most populous countries interacted between 1945 and 1967, when the concept of citizenship was contested, political loyalty was in question, identity was fluid, and the boundaries of political mobilization were blurred. Taomo Zhou asks probing questions about this important period in the histories of the People’s Republic of China and Indonesia. What was it like to be youths in search of an ancestral homeland they had never set foot in, or economic refugees whose expertise in private business became undesirable in their new home in the socialist state? What ideological beliefs or practical calculations motivated individuals to commit to one nationality while forsaking another? 
    As Migration in the Time of Revolution demonstrates, the answers to such questions about “ordinary” migrants are crucial to a deeper understanding of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Based on evidence from newly declassified documents from the Chinese Foreign Ministry Archives and oral history interviews, Zhou argues that migration and the political activism of the ethnic Chinese in Indonesia were important historical forces in the making of governmental relations between Beijing and Jakarta after World War II. She highlights the agency and autonomy of individuals whose life experiences were shaped by—but also helped shape—the trajectory of bilateral diplomacy. These ethnic Chinese migrants and settlers were, Zhou contends, not passively acted upon but actively responded to the developing events of the Cold War. This book bridges the fields of diplomatic history and migration studies by reconstructing the Cold War in Asia as social processes from the ground up.

“Based on extensive research in Chinese and Indonesian sources, Migration in the Time of Revolution is the best study of Sino-Indonesian relations during the Cold War in the English language and may well remain so for years to come.”
—Gregg Brazinsky, The George Washington University
author of Winning the Third World

“Migration in the Time of Revolution is an impressive work of high caliber and represents a significant contribution to knowledge on modern China, Chinese migration, modern Indonesia, and modern Southeast Asia.”
—Glen Peterson, University of British Columbia
author of Overseas Chinese in the People’s Republic of China

Co-publication: Cornell University Press / ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute

ISEAS edition is for distribution in ASEAN countries

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