RI political parties establish relations with China despite their anti-communist ideology – Universities

Muhammad Zulfikar Rakhmat (The Conversation Indonesia)

Jakarta ●
Fri, April 15, 2022

2022-04-15
10:09
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Indonesia, China, ideology, political parties, communism, nationalism, vote
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Southeast Asia’s Largest Economy Indonesia has been increasingly intimate in various sectors with the world’s second largest economy, China.

China-Indonesia relations do not just happen between governments and companies. Several Indonesian political parties and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the founding and sole ruling party in China, are also forging ties. This phenomenon is quite interesting considering that the most populous Muslim majority in the world has taken a strong anti-communist stance since the mid-1960s.

My ongoing research on the actors involved in Sino-Indonesian relations reveals the mutual benefits that the Chinese Communist Party and Indonesian political parties derive from these collaborations.

From secular parties to Islamic parties

Indonesia banned communism in 1966; he was seen as a threat following an alleged coup attempt by the country’s Communist Party (PKI). In the early 2000s, Indonesia’s fourth president, Abdurrahman Wahid, failed in his attempt to revoke the ban. The stigma against communism in Indonesian society remains.

This is why most political parties in Indonesia do not want to be associated with China because of its communist ideology.

Unlike China’s ruling one-party system, Indonesia is a multi-party country. There are two main camps: secular and Islamic parties.

The first camp includes the current ruling party PDIP (Indonesian Democratic Struggle Party), Democratic Party (Partai Demokrat), Golkar (Functional Groups Party), Gerindra (Greater Indonesia Movement Party) and NasDem (National Democrat ).

Islamic parties include the PKS (Prosperous Justice Party), PAN (National Mandate Party), PPP (United Development Party) and PKB (National Awakening Party).

However, even Islamic parties that have had a long and tense history with communism since the early 1950s are said to have continued ties with the Chinese Communist Party.

At least five Indonesian political parties have established ties with the CCP.

These include the main parties in the country, the PDIP, Gerindra, the Democratic Party, the Golkar and the PKS.

The involvement of parties like the PKS and Gerindra is quite interesting, given that these parties often view the rise of China as a communist threat.

It has also been reported that the Islamic party PPP (United Development Party) has developed a relationship with the Chinese Communist Party, although it has rejected such claims.

Wide field

As early as 2008, Golkar members and Chinese Communist Party officials held a meeting to share their experiences on party management. Since then, the two sides have held follow-up meetings between their top officials in Beijing and Jakarta.

Golkar politician Ace Hasan Syadzily said many parties in Indonesia, not just Golkar, have cultivated collaborations with the Chinese Communist Party.

The scope of this party-to-party cooperation ranges from meetings, exchanges on party organization, to regeneration.

The meeting of Golkar and the Communist Party of China in 2008 resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) covering all aspects related to the regeneration and organization of the party.

Meanwhile, the PDIP and the PCC have held several meetings to discuss cooperation to increase human and financial resources.

In 2013, the PDIP sent 15 of its cadres to Shanghai, Guiyang and Beijing to observe children’s health centers and learn about the development of agricultural sectors in Chinese rural areas.

During their visits to Guiyang, PDIP delegates learned how local governments are promoting the development of small and medium enterprises in the health sector. They also participated in several workshops on the management of political parties.

In 2015, PDIP Chairperson and former Indonesian President Megawati Soekarnoputri visited Shenzhen to inaugurate the Indonesia-China Cooperation Center building. The building is named after his father, Sukarno, the first president of Indonesia. This visit further improved the IDP’s relationship with the CCP.


Megawati Soekarnoputri, chairwoman of Indonesia’s ruling political party, PDIP, delivers her speech. Antara/Alina


During the visit, Megawati spoke at a panel titled “Political Leadership: A New Consensus for Political Parties,” at the International Conference of Asian Political Parties forum in Beijing.

The Chinese authorities have also invited the PKS, the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the National Awakening Party (PKB) to carry out comparative studies, particularly on the ethnic Muslim Hui autonomous region of Ningxia, with the aim of maintaining a positive image of Chinese policy in Xinjiang. .

mutual benefit

Chinese Communist Party policy experts Julia Bader and Christine Hackenesch argue that from the CCP’s perspective, strengthening party-to-party relations with Indonesia could be part of its soft power approach to increasing the legitimacy of its growing economic interests in the country.

There have been criticisms of China among members and supporters of some parties in Indonesia.

China sees this side-to-side cooperation as a way to improve its position and a gateway to expand its presence.

The harmonious relationship will also bring opportunities for future Chinese investment in the country.

China wishes to establish good relations with Indonesia’s ruling coalition party, especially ahead of the 2024 general election in Indonesia.

From the point of view of the Indonesian parties, the objective is not only to maintain good relations but also to bring out projects in various sectors.

It also opens the possibility for Indonesian parties to become distributors of grants, allowing them to gain political support from boarding schools and Islamic educational institutions.

As the 2024 elections approach, working with China could help them receive funds for their political activities and secure Chinese investment in Indonesia in the future.The conversation

The author is assistant professor of international relations at Universitas Islam Indonesia (UII) Yogyakarta

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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