Hok Hoei Kan

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Hok Hoei Kan
COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Leden van de Volksraad in 1918 D. Birnie (benoemd) Kan Hok Hoei (benoemd) R. Sastro Widjono (gekozen) en mas ngabèhi Dwidjo Sewojo (benoemd) TMnr 10001376.jpg
Volksraad members in 1918: D. Birnie (appointed), Kan Hok Hoei (appointed), R. Sastro Widjono (elected) and Mas Ngabehi Dwidjo Sewojo (appointed).
Born 1881
Batavia, Dutch East Indies
Died 1951 (aged 69–70)
Jakarta, Indonesia
Occupation politician, parliamentarian, community leader, landowner
Spouse(s) Lie Tien Nio
Family Kan Keng Tjong (grandfather)
Lie Tjoe Hong, Majoor der Chinezen (father-in-law)
Awards Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion, Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau

Kan Hok Hoei Sia (Chinese: 簡福輝舍; pinyin: Jiǎn Fúhuī Shè; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Kán Hok-hui Sià; January 6, 1881 - March 1, 1951), generally known as Hok Hoei Kan or in short H. H. Kan, was a prominent public figure, statesman, patrician and landowner of Peranakan Chinese descent in the Dutch East Indies. He was a leading member of the Volksraad, and advocated cooperation with the Dutch colonial state in order to attain racial and legal equality for the colony's Chinese community.

Family and Early Life

Kan was born Han Khing Tjiang Sia in Batavia into the baba bangsawan, or Chinese gentry of colonial Indonesia. His father, Han Oen Lee, served as Luitenant der Chinezen of Bekasi, and hailed from the Han family of Lasem – one of the oldest and most storied of Java's Chinese lineages.[1] Through his father, Kan could trace his ancestry in Java back to Han Khee Bing, Luitenant der Chinezen (1749 – 1768), the eldest son of the mid-eighteenth century magnate Han Bwee Kong, Kapitein der Chinezen (1727 – 1778), and grandson of the founder of the family, Han Siong Kong (1673-1743).[1] Kan's ancestor, Luitenant Han Khee Bing, was the elder brother of the landlords Han Chan Piet (1759 – 1827) and Han Kik Ko, Majoors der Chinezen (1766 – 1813).[1] As a descendant of a long line of Chinese officials in Java, Kan held the courtesy title of Sia from birth.

His mother, Kan Oe Nio, was one of Batavia's richest heiresses, and daughter of the famed tycoon and landowner, Kan Keng Tjong, later elevated by the Chinese Imperial Government to the rank of mandarin of the third grade. Han Khing Tjiang was adopted by his childless uncle, Kan Tjeng Soen, and renamed Kan Hok Hoei. He was also made the principal heir of the name and fortune of his maternal grandfather.

He had a thoroughly European upbringing, and was schooled at the Europeesche Lagere School (ELS) and the prestigious Koning Willem III School te Batavia (KW III). In 1899, he was married off to his first cousin, Lie Tien Nio, daughter of Lie Tjoe Hong, 3rd Majoor der Chinezen of Batavia, and - like her husband - a grandchild of Kan Keng Tjong. The couple had 8 children.

Kan applied and obtained legal equality with Europeans (gelijkgesteld) in 1905, after which he was universally known as Hok Hoei Kan or H. H. Kan.

Political career

Volksraad members in 1918: D. Birnie (appointed), Kan Hok Hoei (appointed), R. Sastro Widjono (elected) and Mas Ngabehi Dwidjo Sewojo (appointed).
A session of the Volksraad.

His political career began in the Municipal Council of Batavia and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce (Siang Hwee). When the Volksraad was convened by the Governor-General for the first time, Kan accepted appointment to the newly founded legislative body in 1918. He did so despite widespread opposition to the colonial legislature from many Chinese and indigenous subjects of the Dutch East Indies, many of whom refused to cooperate with the colonial government and campaigned for outright independence. Kan remained a member of the Volksraad until its dissolution by the Japanese, who invaded the colony in 1942 during the Second World War.

In 1928, Kan presided - as founding President - over the formation of Chung Hwa Hui (CHH), a political association that attracted the support of mainly Dutch-educated ethnic Chinese. Together with the likes of Loa Sek Hie and Chester Sim-Zecha, who were both on the Executive Committee of CHH, Kan pleaded for legal equality of the Chinese with Europeans under Indies law. Kan also opposed some of the legal disabilities that had been imposed on the Chinese of the colony, such as limited ownership of agricultural land and excessive taxation.

His relationship with Indonesian nationalists was ambiguous. In 1927, Kan voted against expanding the franchise for elections to the Volksraad as he feared domination of the legislature by indigenous Indonesians. His pro-Dutch attitude even drew the criticism of Phoa Liong Gie, a leader of the CHH's more liberal younger faction. Following an open conflict over Kan's apparent dominance of the CHH, Phoa resigned from the party and sat as an independent in the Volksraad when eventually appointed to it in 1939.[2][3]

Notwithstanding supposed pro-Dutch sympathies, Kan supported the ill-fated Soetardjo Petition in 1936, which requested Indonesian Independence within ten years as part of a Dutch commonwealth.

Kan was made an Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau in 1921, and a Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion in 1930 in recognition of his service to the Dutch Crown.

Japanese Occupation and Death

When the Japanese invaded Java in 1942, they apprehended Kan along with other leaders of the colonial government due to their anti-Japanese activities. Kan was imprisoned in Tjimahi until the Japanese capitulated in 1945.

He did not resume political activities after the Second World War, and died at his residence on Jalan Teuku Umar in Menteng in 1951.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Salmon, Claudine (1991). "The Han Family of East Java. Entrepreneurship and Politics (18th-19th Centuries)". Archipel. 41 (1): 53–87. Retrieved 11 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (1997). Suryadinata, Leo, ed. Political Thinking of the Indonesian Chinese, 1900-1995: A Sourcebook. Singapore: NUS Press. ISBN 9789971692018. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  3. ^ Lohanda, Mona (2002). Growing pains: the Chinese and the Dutch in colonial Java, 1890-1942. Jakarta: Yayasan Cipta Loka Caraka. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 


  • Haris, Syamsuddin (2007). Partai dan Parlemen Lokal Era Transisi Demokrasi di Indonesia: Studi Kinerja Partai-Partai di DPRD Kabupaten/Kota. TransMedia. ISBN 9797990524. 
  • Lohanda, Mona (2002). Growing Pains: The Chinese and The Dutch in Colonial Java, 1890-1942. Yayasan Cipta Loka Caraka. 
  • Salmon, Claudine (1991). The Han Family of East Java. Entrepreneurship and Politics (18th-19th Centuries). Archipel, Vol 41. 
  • Salmon, Claudine (1997). La communauté chinoise de Surabaya. Essai d'histoire, des origines à la crise de 1930. Archipel, Vol 68. 
  • Salmon, Claudine (2004). The Han Family from the Residency of Besuki (East Java) as Reflected in a Novella by Tjoa Boe Sing (1910). Archipel, Vol 53. 
  • Suryadinate, Leo (1995). Prominent Indonesian Chinese: Biographical Sketches. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. ISBN 9813055030. 
  • Suryadinata, Leo (2005). Peranakan Chinese Politics in Java, 1917-1942. Marshall Cavendish Academic. ISBN 9812103600. 
  • Suryadinate, Leo (2012). Southeast Asian Personalities of Chinese Descent: A Biographical Dictionary. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. ISBN 9814345210. 
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