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HomeAsiaChina-owned nickel smelter in Indonesia resumes production after deadly riot

China-owned nickel smelter in Indonesia resumes production after deadly riot

'Quick read' news summary

Production resumed at a China-owned nickel smelter in Indonesia on Tuesday after a deadly weekend riot highlighted lingering tensions over the presence of Chinese workers in the Southeast Asian country. 

Police said the violence erupted on Saturday at the PT Gunbuster Nickel Industry (GNI) plant in Morowali, Central Sulawesi province, and was fanned by an allegedly false rumor that Chinese employees had attacked their Indonesian counterparts who were protesting over wages and labor safety.

An Indonesian worker and a Chinese worker were killed.

“Information from the management shows 2,963 employees returned to work today,” including 350 Chinese workers, Central Sulawesi provincial police spokesperson Didik Supranoto told RFA-affiliate BenarNews.

Indonesia’s manpower ministry said it was sending a team to investigate the violence, during which workers torched part of the plant.

“The point of the investigation is to find out what caused the riot and resolve the existing problems so that similar incidents do not happen again,” said the head of its provincial office, Arnold Firdaus Bandu.

Officials said 71 people were in police custody and 17 of them were considered suspects in connection with the violence. 

Meanwhile, more than 700 police and soldiers have been deployed to maintain security around the plant, and there were no new tensions reported between Chinese and Indonesian workers, police spokesman Didik said.

“They are getting along well,” he said.

Some Indonesians have expressed concerns about what they see as an influx into the country of workers from China, accusing them of stealing menial jobs from locals.

The government insists that only Chinese nationals with specific

Production resumed at a China-owned nickel smelter in Indonesia on Tuesday after a deadly weekend riot highlighted lingering tensions over the presence of Chinese workers in the Southeast Asian country. Police said the violence erupted on Saturday at the PT Gunbuster Nickel Industry (GNI) plant in Morowali, Central Sulawesi province, and was fanned by an allegedly false rumor that Chinese employees had attacked their Indonesian counterparts who were protesting over wages and labor safety. “Information from the management shows 2,963 employees returned to work today,” including 350 Chinese workers, Central Sulawesi provincial police spokesperson Didik Supranoto told RFA-affiliate BenarNews.

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