Reuters: China alarmed as chili 'conspiracy' heats up Indonesians
China's embassy in Indonesia has expressed alarm at media reports accusing China of using a "biological weapon" against Indonesia, after four Chinese nationals were arrested for planting imported chili seeds contaminated with a bacteria.
The headlines splashed across Indonesian media have sparked a wave of anti-Chinese sentiment on social media in a country with a history of simmering resentment towards its giant neighbor and a minority ethnic Chinese community.
Indonesian authorities said the imported chili seeds confiscated on a farm about 60 km (37 miles) south of the capital, Jakarta, contained the bacteria erwinia chrysanthemi, which is harmless to humans but can cause failure in crops.
It was the first time the bacteria had been detected in Indonesia, the state-owned news agency Antara quoted the head of the country's quarantine body as saying.
Indonesians are among the most avid users of social media in the world, and conspiracy theories about the intentions of the four Chinese nationals running the farm quickly spread.
"Haven't people realized that Chinese attacks on thiscountry are real in many ways. From drugs, illegal workers, now chili bacteria", said a twitter user with the handle @BoengParno.