Leo Suryadinata

Leo Suryadinata

Senior Visiting Fellow, ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute

Dr Leo Suryadinata is Senior Visiting Fellow at ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute, and Professor (Adj.) at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at NTU. He was formerly Director at the Chinese Heritage Centre, NTU.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) and Indonesia's President-elect Prabowo Subianto shake hands at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on 1 April 2024. (China Daily via Reuters)

Indonesia's Prabowo solidifying domestic legitimacy with visits to China, Japan and Malaysia

A defence minister’s courtesy calls take on a different significance, albeit only slightly, when he will take over as Indonesia’s president in a matter of months.
A worshipper burns incense on the first day of the year of the Dragon, amid Lunar New Year celebrations, at Petak Sembilan temple in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 10 February 2024. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

Will the Confucian religion develop further in Indonesia?

The quiet support of the current administration for the tiny minority of Confucianists in Indonesia, who are mostly ethnic Chinese Indonesians, could speak volumes about not just religious but more worldly concerns.
Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto (left) speaks during a televised debate with his opponents Ganjar Pranowo (centre) and Anies Baswedan (right) at the Istora Senayan stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 7 January 2024. (Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters)

Will the 'China factor' become an election issue in Indonesia?

Indonesia’s economic relationship with China is occasionally marred by deadly accidents at Chinese-built and owned industrial sites in the archipelago. Nevertheless, economic cooperation with China is not going to slow down, no matter who wins the election next month.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo speaking with the media on 8 May 2023 at Meruorah Convention Centre in Labuan Bajo, the fishing town on Flores Island in eastern Indonesia that is the venue of the two-day ASEAN Summit. (SPH Media)

Indonesia’s strategic considerations in joining BRICS

Given the intensity of the China-US rivalry and the upcoming presidential election in Indonesia, President Jokowi has seemingly changed his strategy temporarily so as not to be distracted by BRICS issues. However, Jokowi is still determined to make Indonesia a strong country, says ISEAS academic Leo Suryadinata.
Supporters gathered outside one of the main campaign centres in Jakarta, Indonesia, celebrating Jokowi’s victory by sample votes in 2019. (SPH Media)

The Chinese Indonesian vote in the 2024 presidential election

Coming to the end of his second term, Indonesian President Jokowi is still enjoying influence in Indonesian politics, with analysts believing that whoever he endorses will end up the winner in the presidential election in February 2024. How critical will the Chinese Indonesian vote be? ISEAS academic Leo Suryadinata explains.
A screen grab from a video featuring former Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla at the Asia Society, 2016. (Internet)

Anti-Chinese comments by former Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla spark different reactions

Former Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla claimed that Chinese people control the Indonesian economy, given their involvement in business and trade. Is there anything to back up the statement, or is it a show of racism, intended to stir anti-Chinese sentiment in Indonesia?
Indonesia President Joko Widodo (right) speaking to Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto (left) and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo (centre) during a rice harvest on 9 March 2023 in Kebumen, Central Java. (Presidential Secretariat's Press Bureau/Laily Rachev)

Indonesia’s potential presidential candidates and two superpowers

Washington and Beijing — like Indonesian voters — are getting to know more about Indonesia’s prospective presidential candidates. How are each of them likely to move in terms of relations with the US and China, and what support are they likely to get in return?
Employees react amid the chaos as Chinese and Indonesian workers clash at a nickel smelter in Morowali, Sulawesi, Indonesia in this undated social media video released 16 January 2023. (Revi Limbong via Reuters)

Workers' riot in a Chinese nickel company in Indonesia: Could it have been prevented?

A recent conflict between Indonesian workers and Chinese workers at a nickel smelter in Indonesia's North Morowali regency brings into focus several issues concerning Chinese investments in Indonesia, poor working environments, and bad treatment of local workers. Authorities must carefully manage the issue of migrant workers and balance national policy goals with local communities' interests.
Mixue is popular among the urban youth in Indonesia. (Mixue/Instagram)

Much ado about Chinese ice cream Mixue’s halal certification in Indonesia

ISEAS academic Leo Suryadinata looks at the Chinese ice cream brand Mixue and the difficulty it faces in getting a halal certificate in Indonesia. What does it say about the power struggle between different interest groups and Indonesia’s processes?