DIKSIA.COM - Exploration of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in Indonesia is now considered much more developed than in the past, especially during the New Order era due to rapidly changing domestic and international dynamics.
The climate of democracy that increasingly developed in the reform era brought freedom to conduct studies of China, commonly referred to as Sinology, which was closely monitored by the government during the New Order.
On the other hand, the beginning of the so-called China's Rising Era and the increasing ties between Indonesia and China have made the study of Sinology even more necessary.
This opinion was expressed by Professor A. Dahana, Professor Emeritus of Sinology at the University of Indonesia and founder of the Indonesian Sinology Forum (FSI), in a virtual seminar entitled Sinology in Indonesia: History, Development and Challenges in the Present, organized by FSI, Monday 10 July 2023.
In addition to Professor A Dahana, the seminar also presented Prof. Dr. Hermina Sutami, active professor in the China Studies program at the University of Indonesia and led by Muhammad Farid, a China UI study graduate who now teaches at the President University's Department of International Relations.
In his lecture, Dahana conveyed the history of the origins of the discipline of Sinology. “One of the things we can call the earliest sinologist is Marco Polo, who told the people of Genoa about life in China during the Yuan dynasty when he was imprisoned in that city,” Dahana said.
He said that Marco Polo's story was later written down in a book by Rustichello entitled The Travels of Marco Polo.
“Later, between the 15th and 18th centuries, missionaries came to China from Europe to preach the gospel,” he continued.
The missionaries also included Jesuits Matteo Ricci and Michele Riggieri, according to Dahana. Both deserve to be called pioneers in the sinology discipline, according to Dahana.
But at that time, according to his explanation, sinology had not yet been separated from religious missionary efforts. It was only at the beginning of the 20th century. The eminent French sinologist Edouard Chavannes lectured on Chinese history at the College de France.