Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Chinese mechanic who secretly led a 40-year Melanesian revolution

The Chinese mechanic who secretly led a 40-year Melanesian revolution
1:32 pm today 

By Rohan Radheya *
In 1975 when Tan Sen Thay fled his native land Indonesia he arrived in the Netherlands with just two gulden and a traditionally woven West Papuan noken bag.

The Chinese Indonesian claimed to Dutch immigration authorities that he was a senior representative of The West Papuan government, a predominantly black elite from a Melanesian province in Indonesiaʼs most Eastern federation.
Their government was on a critical stage waging a poorly equipped rebellion for independence.
"If we do not get Dutch assistance immediately, we will be wiped out," he warned.
Tan Sen insisted that the Dutch had a moral obligation to help West Papua. After the infamous Trikora incident between the Netherlands and Indonesia in 1961, the Dutch were forced to relinquish Papua under international pressure.
In 1969, West Papua was annexed by Indonesia in a highly criticised referendum known as theAct of Free Choice.
Some 1025 tribal leaders were rounded up to vote for the political status of a population of nearly one million native Papuans while Indonesian soldiers allegedly held entire villages at gunpoint. Only four Papuans voted against Indonesian control.
Serious allegations of human rights violations would follow, including claims of war crimes and genocide committed against indigenous Papuans. Tan Sen and his comrades swore they would not accept the result of the referendum, but would continue battling Indonesia for the fate of the resource-rich island……………

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