Bringing China to Java

The Oei Tiong Ham Concern and Chen Kung-po during the Nanjing Decade

in Journal of Chinese Overseas
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Abstract

This paper discusses the paramount role of the Oei Tiong Ham Concern (OTHC) of Semarang in the “Buy Chinese Products” movement of the Republican Government during the period 1928–1937 and its attempts to control Java’s sugar trade with China during the same period. In doing so, the paper focuses on the personal relations between Chen Kung-po (Chen Gongbo), the Republican Minister of Trade and Industry, and the OTHC leadership, as well as the close collaboration between the Dutch-educated Peranakan and Totok Chinese business elites of Java in intensifying economic relations between China and Java. The paper thereby reassesses long-held views about attitudes and economic roles of the Westernized Peranakan Chinese elites and questions the usefulness of simplified political frameworks in analyzing the complex dynamics of intra-Asian trade and commerce in the highly politicized business environment of the 1930s.

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Figures
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    Chen Kung-po (left) and Ho Tso Hsien (right) in the lobby of Hotel des Indes, Batavia. Bataviaasch Nieuwsblad 14 May 1934
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