Mar 20, 2022
Image: Adrian Pranata / Unsplash
By Anne Kader
Since the beginning of the arbitrary detainments of Uyghurs in Chinese concentration camps in 2017/2018, some Indonesian groups started voicing their support for the Uyghurs. Ahead of Indonesian national elections in April 2019, the opposition took up the plight of the Uyghurs and rallied on the streets of Jakarta.
China grew alarmed: Indonesia is a significant Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) partner, and Beijing saw the need to amplify its subversion efforts in the South Asian island nation.
China is spreading its soft-power in Indonesia to gain an economic and political foothold. One of these endeavors is courting Muslim students with scholarships, the Jakarta Post reports. Many of these students are now promoting a more positive image of China in social and local media. It has been reported, that China is the second top destination for Indonesian students. The latest data in 2019 from the Indonesian embassy in Beijing recorded 15,780 Indonesians studying in China.
An International webinar was recently held in Indonesia to raise awareness about China's human rights violations against the Uyghurs.
The webinar was moderated by Dr. Asep Setiawan from Muhammdiyah University Jakarta. It featured very prominent speakers, such as Omer Kanat (executive director of Uyghur Human Rights Project, Washington), Professor James Leibold (from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia), Dinna Prapto Raharjo (from Binus University, Jakarta), and Dr. Ayjaz Wani (Research Fellow at Observer Research Foundation, Mumbai, India), Ani News reports.