Peranakan is a term used to refer to the descendants of early Chinese immigrants who partially adopted indigenous customs through either acculturation or intermarriage with indigenous communities.
Many peranakan Chinese families have been settled in Indonesia for centuries and have mixed indigenous-Chinese ancestry. There are about 7 million peranakan in Indonesia.
The peranakan contributed various cultural influences - mainly culinary, including various types of noodles. Other contributions are beautiful batik pesisir from Cirebon, Pekalongan, Kudus, Lasem, Tuban and Sidoarjo, and traditional herbal medicines known as jamu.
Since 1870, politics have threatened peranakan culture. When the Dutch government issued an agrarian policy prohibiting pribumi (indigenous people) from selling their land to foreigners, this affected the Chinese, who were categorized as foreigners ("foreign Orientals"). Consequently their integration with their "indigenous" neighbors was disrupted.
Despite their contribution to the nationalist movement and struggle against Dutch colonialism, the peranakan were coming under increasing government pressure by the late 1950s to assimilate with what was then viewed as the indigenous Indonesian "national identity".
During Soeharto's era, the peranakan were stigmatized as leftist sympathizers and banned from politics, because Sukarno's regime chose to side with the People's Republic of China - something that Soeharto as an anti-Communist American ally did not want.