China’s Confucianism and Its Transformation in Indonesia


About the Webinar

Chinese Confucianism is often considered primarily as a philosophy (儒学)and secondarily, as an unorganized religion (儒教,孔教). But the People’s Republic of China (PRC) today regard Confucianism only as a philosophy, and Confucius (孔子)himself has become the symbol of Chinese culture.

In Indonesia, however, Confucianism has developed into an organized religion and is recognized by the state as one of the six official religions. Additionally, since the fall of Suharto, the Chinese Lunar New Year has become an Indonesian public holiday as it is considered as the new year celebrated by the Confucianists.

Although initially influenced by China, the development of Confucianism in Indonesia has been heavily influenced by local politics and society since the end of World War II. This new development reflects the Chinese Indonesian hybrid culture and their desire to use Confucianism as a vehicle for their religious and ethnic identity. However, as Chinese Indonesians often practice traditions from three religions (Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism), it is difficult to separate Confucianism from Buddhism and Taoism.

Additionally, through interactions with other religions such as Islam and Christianity coupled with domestic socio-political pressure, Confucianism in the Republic of Indonesia has transformed into an organized religion called Agama Khonghucu, possessing many characteristics of other religions.

This webinar will analyse the origins of Confucianism in Indonesia and track its transformation into a religion with Indonesian characteristics. It will examine the similarities and differences between Confucianism in China and Indonesia, and the problems and future prospects the religion faces.

About the Speaker

Professor Leo Suryadinata is currently Visiting Senior Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. He was formerly Professor in the Department of Political Science at the National University of Singapore. He has published extensively on Southeast Asian politics, ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia and China-ASEAN relations. His latest book is Rising China and New Chinese Migrants in Southeast Asia (ISEAS Publishing/2022, co-editor and contributor).


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

Please register here to receive your unique link for joining the webinar.


Mar 21 2023


2:00 pm - 3:15 pm