Indonesia

This photo taken on 22 September 2021 shows fishermen on their boat as smoke rises from chimneys at the Suralaya coal power plant in Cilegon. (Ronald Siagian/AFP)

In Indonesia, Chinese financing for coal-fired power plants grows faster than that for renewables

On the one hand, China’s potential in helping Indonesia make the clean energy transition has been spoken about, but on the other, China continues to be a big player in perpetuating non-renewable energy use such as in coal-fired power plants. Looking ahead, can they be a larger contributor in Indonesia’s efforts to derive 23% of Indonesia’s primary energy needs from renewable sources by 2025? Malaysian academics Guanie Lim and Goh Chun Seng tell us more.
People cross a pedestrian crossing in Hong Kong on 16 May 2022. (Peter Parks/AFP)

Why is the Hong Kong government targeting Telegram?

The Hong Kong government has announced that it is considering blocking Telegram in response to doxxing content on the social media platform. The app has also been accused of playing a key role in facilitating social and democratic movements. But if Hong Kong bans Telegram, will that be the city's first step towards conforming with the mainland’s internet censorship rules?
Indonesian President Joko Widodo inspects an area that will be the site of the new capital city, during sunrise in Penajam Paser Utara regency, East Kalimantan province, Indonesia, 15 March 2022. (Courtesy of Agus Suparto/Indonesian Presidential Palace/Handout via Reuters)

Will China invest in Indonesia's new capital 'Nusantara'?

Amid fears of an increasing dependence on China being played up with regards to foreign investment for Indonesia's new capital in East Kalimantan, one must first ask if Indonesia offers an attractive enough proposition for Chinese (and other) investors, says Indonesian researcher Siwage Dharma Negara.
This file handout picture taken and released on 17 December 2019 by the Indonesian Presidential Palace shows Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (left) during his visit to North Penajam Paser district near Sepaku in East Kalimantan, where the government plans to build its new capital city replacing Jakarta. (Handout/Indonesian Presidential Palace/AFP)

Jokowi's plan for Indonesia's new capital: Who benefits?

A law recently passed by the Jokowi government regarding the relocation of the nation's capital to East Kalimantan has generated much controversy. ISEAS academic Leo Suryadinata notes that while there are objections relating to the conservation and ecology in Kalimantan, greater protests are coming from the anti-Jokowi camp that believe only a handful of wealthy people will benefit, and fear that the new capital will be controlled by foreign countries, especially China. Jokowi is in a race against time to move the capital before the next election.
Students gather as schools transition to in-classroom teaching amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in Jakarta on 3 January 2022. (Adek Berry/AFP)

China’s Islamic diplomacy in Indonesia is seeing results

China’s efforts at Islamic diplomacy — including providing scholarships for Indonesian students and inviting leaders of Islamic organisations to visit China — seem to be paying off, at least in producing young academics like Novi Basuki, who has been defending China’s actions in Xinjiang. NTU academic Leo Suryadinata tells us more.
Police officers patrol the square in front of Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China, 3 May 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Why Indonesia's Muslim organisations are not critical of China's Xinjiang policy

China's faith diplomacy towards Muslim organisations in Indonesia appears to have silenced critics of its policy towards the Uighurs in Xinjiang. Among its efforts, Beijing has portrayed itself as an ally of moderate Muslims against extremism, and invited Indonesian clerics several times to Xinjiang to give them a firsthand look into conditions there. In return, major religious figures in Indonesia have called on Indonesians not to criticise China over the Uighur issue. This is likely to continue as long as the Indonesian government sees benefits in its links with China.
A student cycles past a wall mural in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on 10 December 2021. (Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP)

Huawei digital talent programme: Another source of China's soft power in Indonesia

Huawei’s digital talent programme in Indonesia is contributing to China’s soft power as the latter seeks to engage Indonesia as an important node of its Belt and Road Initiative. Indonesia stands to gain from the exchange but also needs to be wary of possible cybersecurity concerns.
A protester sticks posters outside the Chinese embassy following reports that China has encroached on Indonesia’s maritime area in the South China Sea, in Jakarta, Indonesia, 8 December 2021. (Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters)

South China Sea dispute: Why can't Southeast Asian countries stand united against China's claims?

Amid the spectre of China's growing assertiveness in the South China Sea, Indonesia plans to convene a meeting with some of its ASEAN colleagues — including the Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore. If the meeting happens, Beijing may not dial down its activities in the disputed areas, but the point would have been made that Indonesia is prepared to take the lead in galvanising ASEAN on South China Sea matters. The idea of a meeting is not new, but this time it might just work.
A nuclear-powered Type 094A Jin-class ballistic missile submarine of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy is seen during a military display in the South China Sea, 12 April 2018. (Stringer/File Photo/Reuters)

China’s ‘hegemony with Chinese characteristics’ in the South China Sea

Though in word it professes to never seek hegemony or bully smaller countries, in deed, China behaves unilaterally and flexes its economic and political muscles for dominance in the South China Sea, says Indian academic Amrita Jash.