Yap Thiam Hien Biogrpahy

Yap Thiam Hien
Yap Thiam Hien

Yap Thiam Hien (born in Koeta Radja, Aceh, May 25, 1913 - died in Brussels, Belgium, 25 April 1989 at age 75 years) is a Sino-Indonesian lawyer. He devoted his entire life fighting for justice and human rights (human rights). His name is immortalized as the name of an award given to the people who made a large contribution to the enforcement of human rights in Indonesia.


Yap Thiam Hien, who was called "John" by friends familiar, is the eldest of three brothers from Eng and Yap Sin Hwan Tjing Nio. His great-grandfather was a Luitenant who migrated from Guangdong province in China to Bangka, but was later moved to Aceh. When the opium monopoly was abolished in the Dutch East Indies, Yap family life and a lot of Chinese community leaders when it sank. Compounded by errors in the form of investment in Aceh oil palm plantation which did not provide a favorable outcome. In 1920 the position of Yap family was replaced by the Han family, who came from East Java.
Thiam Hien raised in a very feudalistic plantation. Environmental conditions has been forging personal feudalistic grandson Kapitan Yap Han Hun was rebellious as a child and hated all forms of oppression and despotism.

At the age of 9 years, mother died Thiam Hien. He and his two siblings were raised by Sato and Nakashima, a Japanese woman who is mistress of her grandfather. Sato apparently played a major role in the life Thiam Hien, giving the family intimacy that are not normally found in a Chinese family and a strong sense of ethical life that animates Thiam Hien later in adulthood.
Yap Sin Eng, father Thiam Hien, it is a weak figure. But Sin Eng helped shape the lives of their children, because he decided to apply for legal status equivalent (gelijkstelling) with the Europeans. This allows the children acquire a European education, even though they have lost their status as public figures.

Moving to Java

Thiam Hien studied at Europesche Lagere School, Banda Aceh. Then continue to MULO in Banda Aceh. In the 1920s, Yap Thiam Hien brings Sin Eng Thiam Bong and his sister moved to Batavia. Thiam Hien MULO moved to a school in Batavia, and then went to the AMS A-II by Western languages ​​program in Bandung and Yogyakarta and graduated in 1933. He was very interested in history and is fluent in Western languages, namely Dutch, German, English, French, and Latin.

Paa 1938, Yap embraced Christianity, after several years of study and make contact through a family of Indo, where he was boarding in Yogyakarta.

Being a teacher

Completion of the AMS, the world at the time was hit by the economic depression, and Yap can not get a job. Therefore, he moved to Batavia, and into the Hollands-Chineesche Kweekschool (HCK), in Meester Cornelis. HCK is a school teacher education that lasts a year, which give opportunities to young people who want to pursue the Peranakan professional education, but does not have to charge admission to the university. After graduating from HCK, Yap became a teacher for four years in the wilde Scholen (schools not recognized by the Dutch government) Chinese Zendingschool, Cirebon. Next to be a teacher in Tionghwa Hwee Kwan Holl, China School in Apex and Christelijke School in Batavia. Then, since 1938, Yap was once a telephone solicitor, working in the insurance office in Central Jakarta and Heritage Department of Justice in 1943 and enrolled at Rechsthogeschool (Law School).

Go to the Netherlands

In early 1946, Yap had the opportunity to work on a ship returning Dutch people that run to the Netherlands to complete his legal studies at the University of Leiden. From there he earned his Meester in de Rechten. While studying in Leiden, Yap lives in Zendingshuis, the center of the Dutch Reformed Church in Oegsgeest. During his stay in Zendingshuis, Yap read many books of Protestant theology and discussions with the Dutch students preparing to become missionaries. Yap increasingly interested in the ministry of the church, and the Dutch Reformed Church then offered the opportunity to Yap to study at Selly Oak College in England, provided he later dedicated his life to the ministry of the church in Indonesia. Yep agreed, and on his return from Europe he became a Christian youth organization leaders Tjeng Hwee Lian in Jakarta in the late 1940's. While in the Netherlands, Yap develop into a democratic socialist through interaction with many other Indonesian students associated with Partij van de Arbeid (Labour Party) in the Netherlands.

Being a lawyer

Upon his return to his homeland in 1948, Yap married. His father, Yap Sin Eng and Sato Nakashima died in 1949. Yap started working at the church. He then began acting as a lawyer for the residents of Chinese descent resident in Jakarta. Later he joined a small law firm, but quite prominent with colleagues who are all involved in a much broader issue than just a Chinese problem. Senior fellow at that time include Lie Hwee Yoe, founder of the firm in the 1930s, Tan Po Goan, an active supporter of the revolution and later became a member of the Socialist Party of Indonesia, and Oei Tjoe Tat is much younger, an activist Sin Ming Hui and later active in Baperki and Partindo.

After more experience, Yap with John Karwin, Mochtar Kusumaatmadja and Komar's attorney's office opened in 1950. Until then, Yap opened his own law office since 1970, and later pioneered the establishment PERADIN (Indonesian Advocate Association) and later became head of the association's lawyer.

In order to strengthen their resistance to oppression and discriminatory acts experienced by ethnic Chinese, co-founded Baperki Yap, a mass organization originally founded to fight for the political interests of the Chinese people. Then, at the General Election of 1955, he became a member of the Constituent Assembly. But Yap different political persuasions with Siauw Giok Tjhan, one of the characters Baperki time. He opposed the likely political Siauw leftist. Yap and therefore out of the organization.

Yap's name surfaced after he was involved in the debate in the Constituent Assembly in 1959. At that time, as a member of Parliament and Constituent of Chinese descent, she rejected fractions policy under pressure from the government. He was the only member who opposed the 1945 Constituent Assembly as the existence of Article 6 of the discriminatory and concepts that are too strong presidency.
Career and his struggle is also strongly supported by his wife, Tan Khing Gien Nio, who is a teacher. They had two children, and Yap Yap Hong Gie Hong Ai, and four grandchildren. Yap, who was awarded an honorary doctorate is known as a true servant of the law.

In the course of duty to attend an international conference Donor to Indonesia in Brussels, Belgium, Yap suffered from intestinal bleeding. After two days were treated at the Hospital of Saint Augustine, Brussels, Yap breathed the last on 25 April 1989. His body was flown to Jakarta. Five days later, accompanied by thousands of mourners, his body was interred in the Cemetery Garden General Land coachman Jakarta.
During his lifetime, Yap is known as a devout Christian and active in church activities. He co-founded the Christian University of Indonesia and never sat in one of the commission of the Council of the Churches of the World and the International Commission of Jurists. Arief Budiman Yap been dubbed as a "triple minority" in Indonesia, namely Chinese, Christians, and honest.


During her time as a lawyer, had defended Yap Senen Market traders in the place of business displaced by the building owner. Yap is also a cofounder of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI).
In the era of Bung Karno, Yap wrote an article that urged the president to release some political prisoners, such as Mohammad Natsir, Mohammad Roem, Mochtar Lubis, Subadio, Syahrir, and Princen.

Similarly, when the G-30 Incident, Yap, who was known as the anti-Communist, also dare to defend the suspect as Abdul Latif G30S, Asep Suryawan, and Oei Tjoe Tat. Yap with HJC Princen, Aisha Aminy, Dr Halim, Wiratmo Sukito, and Dr. Tambunan is incorporated in the Institute for Defence of Human Rights (LPHAM) they established 29 April 1966 and at the same time Amnesty International representative in Indonesia, asked that the PKI prisoners freed .
He also proved that nationalism can not be associated with a name that carried a person. This is demonstrated by the Chinese do not change the name of his clothing until the end despite an appeal from the New Order government in Indonesia to the Chinese to change their Chinese names.

He also defended Soebandrio, former prime minister, who became the target of mass diatribe at the beginning of the New Order. The defense of a serious and conscientious Yap to Soebandrio's time to make the military judges in Mahmilub (Extraordinary Military Tribunal) confused and upset.

Yap is also a prominent anti-corruption. He even was detained for a week in 1968 as a result of his perseverance against corruption in government agencies.
In the event Malari (Catastrophe Fifteen January) 1974, Yap also appeared firmly position itself to defend the student activists. He was detained without trial. He is inciting students to demonstrate a large scale. Similarly, when the Tanjung Priok incident in 1984, Yap stepped forward to defend the suspects.

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