Exploring Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah’s Engagement with China


About the Hybrid Seminar

This seminar seeks to diverge from the prevalent discourse on China’s religious diplomacy by delving into the motivations behind the active involvement of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s foremost Islamic organizations, in engagements with China. It proposes that both NU and Muhammadiyah view interactions with Chinese entities as strategic endeavors to advance their respective religious ideologies. However, their approaches exhibit distinct nuances. NU incorporates Chinese elements into its religious doctrine, known as Islam Nusantara, to present an alternative narrative of Islam’s historical dissemination in Indonesia. Conversely, Muhammadiyah focuses on contemporary interactions with China to glean developmental insights, aligning with its vision of Progressive Islam and its aspiration to foster an enlightened Muslim society. Against this backdrop, it is evident that NU and Muhammadiyah harbour distinct perceptions of, imaginations about, and interactions with China. By exploring these differences, this seminar aims to deepen our understanding of the multifaceted dynamics at play within the Islamic landscape of Indonesia and its engagement with China.

About the Speaker

Dr Xue Song is a Visiting Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, and an Associate Professor at the Institute of International Studies, Fudan University, specializing in researching China-Indonesia relations, Indonesian foreign policy, and maritime affairs. She authored “The Political Logic of Ethnic Mobilization in Indonesia” (China Social Science Press, Dec 2020) and co-edited “Cooperative Development in the South China Sea: Policies, Obstacles, and Prospects” (Routledge, Oct 2020). Her scholarly contributions extend to journals such as Contemporary Southeast Asia and Asian Ethnicity. Her commentaries are sought by media outlets, including South China Morning Post, Kompas, and the Jakarta Post.


This is a hybrid event which will be held at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS).

Attending the Event In-person at ISEAS

To join the event in-person at ISEAS, please register via the ISEAS mobile app, available on iOS and Android via the Apple or Play store. Search “ISEAS” to find or scan this QR code.

Apple Store

Play Store

Seating capacity is limited. Do register early to avoid disappointment.

Attending the Event Virtually via Webinar

To join the event virtually at the specified date and time using your internet devices, please register here to receive your unique login link for the webinar via the zoom platform.

If you have questions for the speaker, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the speakers during the Q&A session.


May 28 2024


10:00 am - 11:15 am

More Info



ISEAS Seminar Room 2 / Webinar