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China and the Islamic WorldHow the New Silk Road is Transforming Global Politics$
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Robert R. Bianchi

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190915285

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190915285.001.0001

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Inherent Weakness and Increasing Leverage

(p.63) Chapter 5 Indonesia
China and the Islamic World

Robert R. Bianchi

Oxford University Press

With Indonesia, the Chinese are doubly vulnerable. Racial and religious prejudice against Indonesians of Chinese descent threatens both government and private business deals. At the same time, Jakarta is determined to project maritime power and to lead the creation of a broader Pacific community—ambitions that openly contradict China’s desire for preeminence in East Asia. Indonesian politicians can use the threat of Islamic militancy to great advantage, seeming to restrain it when Beijing is pliable and quietly encouraging it when China becomes overbearing. President Joko Widodo skillfully challenges China on maritime disputes while enlisting its economic support to fend off hard-line Muslims and nationalists. But in the capital city of Jakarta, the incumbent governor—a Chinese Indonesian—was ousted by an openly racist campaign that many mainstream Muslim leaders failed to denounce.

Keywords:   Indonesia, Chinese Indonesians, Joko Widodo, Ahok, Anies Baswedan, Jakarta, ASEAN, Japan, Muhammadiya, Pacific Community

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