Telling “Alternative” Narratives on China: The Indonesian Muslim China Graduates and Their Impacts on Indonesia-China Relations


About the Webinar

In 2020, there were over 15,700 Indonesian students studying in Mainland China, an exponential
increase from only around 2,700 students in 2008. Previous studies reveal that the great majority
of those students are Chinese Indonesians and most of them take various kinds of Chinese
language courses. Over the past decade, nevertheless, there has been a marked rise in the
number of Indonesian Muslim students, particularly those graduating from pesantren (Islamic
boarding schools), pursuing higher education in China. This burgeoning interest of Indonesian
pesantren graduates to continue their studies in China is worth further attention, especially in the
context of Indonesian society that traditionally perceives Islam and China as incompatible with
each other. This seminar seeks to explore factors that have facilitated the growing trend. It should
also be noted that some prominent Indonesian Muslim China graduates have started to emerge in
the public sphere, using social media extensively to present the so-called “alternative” narratives
on China and its attitude toward Islam. Against this background, this webinar also aims to examine
how this phenomenon has so far affected Indonesia-China relations and what it further means for
the discussion on the opportunities and challenges for China’s soft power diplomacy in Indonesia.

This webinar is supported by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

About the Speaker

Ardhitya Eduard Yeremia is a faculty member of the Department of International Relations, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Indonesia. His research interests include China’s foreign policy, China-Southeast Asia relations, and Indonesia-China people-to-people exchanges. His research has been published in the International Journal of China Studies, Pacific Review, Asian Perspective and《南洋问题研究》. He can be contacted at the following email addresses: and

About the Discussant

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 The Rise of China and the Chinese Overseas (ISEAS Publications, 2017).



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.
Limited spaces only, register early to avoid disappointment.


Jun 01 2022


GMT +8
10:00 am - 11:30 am