This month marks 20 years since the riots and violence that erupted in cities including Jakarta, Medan and Solo, and mainly targeted Indonesia’s ethnic Chinese population. In light of the recent surge in anti-Chinese sentiment in Indonesia, Dr Jemma Purdey questions whether violence like that of May 1998 could happen again.

The Chinese state’s Confucius Institutes are often depicted as vehicles for expanding Chinese soft power. But as Rika Theo writes, the Indonesian experience demonstrates that the institutes are not simply unidirectional projects imposed on Indonesia from a wealthy partner seeking to expand its influence.

Who are Indonesia’s ethnic Chinese Muslims? Is there a Chinese way of being Muslim? What can their story tell us about religious tolerance and cultural diversity in Indonesia today? Dr Jemma Purdey explores these issues and more with Dr Hew Wai Weng in the latest Talking Indonesia podcast. 

How does support for political Islam correlate with other political attitudes in Indonesia, such as support for decentralisation, choice of a political party, or anti-Chinese sentiment? What are the implications of these correlations for upcoming regional and national elections? Dr Dave McRae explores these issues with Dr Diego Fossati in the latest Talking Indonesia podcast.

Indonesia’s massive population is comprised of hundreds of ethnicities. The ethnic Chinese are one of the largest but their numbers are much smaller than is commonly believed. Charles A. Coppel takes a look at recent census data to provide a more accurate picture of this often stigmatised group.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has been ripped to shreds for saying that it was time for pribumi (‘native or indigenous Indonesians’) to be masters in their own land. Professor Denny Indrayana looks at the history of the term and questions whether there is any such thing as a true pribumi.

How much is the controversy around Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama related to his ethnicity and religion and how much is it about popular politics in Indonesia today? How has Ahok’s own political style played a part? Dr Jemma Purdey discusses these issues and more with Professor Ariel Heryanto in the latest Talking Indonesia podcast.

On 16 November, police declared Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok, a suspect for blasphemy over a speech he made in which he quoted a verse from the Qur’an. Why have Ahok’s comments provoked such an intense reaction in Indonesia, and what can we learn from this case about the position of non-Muslims and ethnic Chinese Indonesians in Indonesian democracy? Dr Dave McRae speaks to Dr Nadirsyah Hosen about the case.

Anti-Chinese sentiment has deep roots in Indonesian society but there is a widespread perception that it has become worse over recent years, along with the rise of Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok. Dr Robertus Robet writes that as Ahok’s opponents have struggled to formulate effective criticism against him, they have resorted to unsophisticated appeals to primordial concerns.

In the midst of growing anti-foreign sentiment in Indonesia, how do Chinese Indonesians perceive China’s rise, and how does it affect their position in Indonesian society? Dr Dave McRae explores these questions and more with Dr Charlotte Setijadi in Talking Indonesia.

During his first year in power, President Joko Widodo and several of his officials have invoked the spectre of foreigners seeking to interfere in Indonesian affairs. As Dr Robertus Robet writes, history shows that this is a strategy that bears considerable risks.