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Yesterday, Indonesian President, Megawati Soekarnoputri, announced that, beginning in 2003, the Lunar New Year, or Imlek as the Chinese new year is known in Indonesia, would become an official national public holiday.
In the past few weeks there were many rumours that Chinese New Year might soon be given an official status, but until yesterday all these rumours were denied by the government (2001-12-21).
The observance of Chinese New Year had been banned by former Indonesian President Soeharto in 1967 by Decree No.14/1967 banning activities related to Chinese culture and Confucianism. This decree stood for 33 years, until President Abdurrahman Wahid issued Decree No. 6/2000 which revoked the 1967 decree, and was followed in 2001 by the permission for the ethnic Chinese in Indonesia to observe Chinese New Year (2001-01-19).
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