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Jakarta Post

Special report: The missing BRIC in Indonesia’s wall

  • Janeman Latul and Neil Chatterjee

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, January 21 2012   /  12:41 pm

The Dutch were the last to build a railway in Indonesia and that was before World War II. Their soldiers marched people off their land at gunpoint. The question of compensation did not arise.

Now, it’s the Chinese that are coming to build a new railway in Indonesia. China Railway Group has been awarded a US$4.8 billion contract to build and maintain the new line in southern Sumatra, which before Dutch colonial rule in the Indonesian archipelago was the centre of a Southeast Asian maritime empire that had thriving trade links with China, the Middle Kingdom.

The railway will run from the Tanjung Enim coal mine, the richest deposit in Indonesia, to a new port in the Sunda Strait, where what’s left of the Krakatau volcano still puffs smoke after blowing its top in 1883.

From there, the coal will be shipped to the northern hemisphere to power China’s industrial engi...