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China has been expanding its soft power influence in Indonesia in recent years along with its economic and political growth in Indonesia. One of these efforts is providing scholarships to Muslim students known as “Chandri”.

This is part of an effort to maintain a positive image of China while reaffirming its policies on religion. Abuse of Uyghurs In Xinjiang, it is only seen from a Chinese perspective.

China has been granting subsidies to Indonesians for years. However, the most active targets of the Chandri community are the recent ones. It follows the implementation China’s Belt and Road Initiative and News about China’s discrimination against UyghursThis has been criticized by many Indonesians.

Many of these students now To write In local media to promote the idea that “religious freedom” is guaranteed in China. They associate the Uyghur homeland, Xinjiang, with uprisings, as does China.

You are right now To speak Positive about China in the country’s mainstream media. so me too cursed Who are Muslim Students? Beijing has called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics Or who protests against China’s policy towards Xinjiang.

Latest peer review reveal Dissent among China-based members of Mohammedia, Indonesia’s second largest Muslim organization, most of whom are students. Her social media activities began to project a positive image of China.

students in China

Although it is difficult to find exact data, it is reported that China is the second best place for Indonesian students. The latest data for 2019 from the Embassy of Indonesia in Beijing listed 15,780 Indonesians study in China. These scholarships take many forms, although most students receive scholarships from the Chinese government.

One of the most important Presented to the largest Islamic organization In Indonesia, Nahlat al-Ulama, affiliated students should be allowed to continue their education in China.

These students are scattered across many Chinese universities. As their numbers increased, they established a Chinese branch of the Nahdlat al-Ulama – Chinese PCINU.

Scholarship recipients also hold various events such as webinars in China Book Launch Ceremony. An example is Nahdlat al-Ulama 2020 in China on Chandri Day Under control Webinar on Chandri’s role in strengthening China-Indonesia ties.

Students often take part in events organized by Beijing Xinjiang Short Forum. The forum aims to invite Muslims outside of China and advise them on how to communicate Xinjiang issues to their respective communities.

During the event students Agreed Xinjiang should look at this issue “in detail” and distrust Western media reports.

Indonesian Muslim students studying in China have actively engaged in Indonesian mainstream media to portray China in a positive light.

Nahdlat al-Ulama is also in China Invited For the Sino-Indonesian Islamic Culture Symposium in Guangzhou, Wuhan in 2019 and 2020. This event was jointly organized by the Fujian government in cooperation with Huakiao University and the China-Indonesia People’s Exchange Development Forum. It has become a forum for academics, practitioners and officials to share their views on Indonesia-China relations.

China’s efforts

News site headed by Nahdlat al-Ulama, NU online, Publish Articles describing the peaceful and comfortable life of Muslims living in China.

Likewise Nahdlat al-Ulama and China will be given Scholarship for Muhammadiyah. While the exact number has yet to be announced, the effort seems to be paying off. This scholarship holder He began singing the praises of Beijing.

There are even short-term scholarships. In 2019, for example, Beijing will be given Scholarships for Santri to visit Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and learn about the life of Muslims in the region.

China has too cooperate The Indonesian Ministry of Religion and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs jointly sent several Indonesian students to China as part of the Chandri for World Peace Goes to China program.

The students met with representatives of various government-run organizations, including the Chinese Islamic Association, to hear the Chinese Communist Party’s version of the “Islam in China” story.

For example, during a visit in 2019, a prominent figure from the China Islamic Association said that relations between Chinese Muslims and the Chinese government are very good.

Previously in 2013 it was about 60 little things Islamic boarding school Ar-Rizala They were invited to attend a summer school in Hangzhou, East Java. Even the Noorul Jati Islamic Boarding School in Central Java reported Many of her students have received scholarships to study in China.

Over the years, China It says Scholarships continue to be awarded to Indonesian Muslim students.

Last year, for example, Ningxia Autonomous Region financial support A scholarship program for the Indonesian Santri community under the motto “Graduates from Islamic boarding schools in Indonesia can study engineering and economics at Ningxia University”.

These scholarships are not only promoted by the Chinese delegation but also by alumni through seminars and conferences. Lots of these Under control In mosques and Islamic universities.

Against the Beijing story

This sage, who is well acquainted with the concept of brotherhood in Islam, should speak more about the plight of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. You shouldn’t believe Beijing’s story considering a lot human rights organizations, Independent Board And even secure From Xinjiang Confident China’s discrimination against Uyghurs.

To date, it has been difficult to trace these statements by Chandras on the Uyghur issue back to Beijing.

The Chandri community should use their time in China to learn more about the Uyghur struggle and people’s living conditions, as well as the pressure on the Indonesian government and prominent figures to make strong statements about Chinese politics in Xinjiang.

The alternative is to write a public letter to China asking it to suspend its Xinjiang policy and to put pressure on Jakarta and China. This message can also be sent to other Santries and related NGOs around the world.

Muhammad Zulfikar Rakmat The Islamic University is Assistant Professor of International Relations in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

This article appeared first conversation.

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