Uncontrolled Chinese’s steps in Indonesia


In Jokowi’s administration, China is growing faster in many kinds of aspects such as politics, economics, and culture. In the mid of 2020, the Ministry of Defence, Prabowo Subianto went to China to build a vaccine program in Indonesia. Prabowo argued,”In our relations, Indonesia and China would have a crucial program like a vaccine to prevent the spreading of Covid-19. Besides, It is one of the strategy of the government.” Prabowo further firmly gave a statement that Indonesia must learn from China to decrease poverty and Covid-19.

Even in the midst of Covid-19, Chinese investment increased 9% as usual. According to Indonesian media, bisnis.com, Bank of Indonesia stated if local payment formed currency settlement with China will begin in the third quartile. Therefore, Indonesia and China haven’t used the United States’ dollar as a payment method but instead use China’s payment method, Yuan. It is an incredible acceleration of the growth relationship between Jakarta and Beijing.

In April 4, the Trade of Indonesia ministry, Muhammad Lutfi gave a statement formally if Indonesia-China trade relations touched USD 1,38 billion. The number,  it is an accomplishment from the SOE Ministry, Erick Thohir and Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi arrived in China.

In terms of culture, Confucius School in Purwokerto was also raised in 2021. Even Chinese Indonesians account for about 3% of the population but they are influential, controlling most of the country’s wealth and commerce.

Those facts are the epitome of Chinese existence in Indonesia. After four years, the symbol cannot be controlled by Indonesian authorities.

Chinese Workers

In June 2021, 20,057 Chinese workers came to Indonesia. Their arrived confirmed by the Head of Immigration Office Soekarno-Hatta Airport, Romi Yudianto,”Overall, for foreigners who enter or come to Indonesia, there are approximately 74 thousand people, of which around 20 thousand are Chinese foreigners,”

That problems more happened . In July 4, 2021, a total of 20 Chinese workers again arrived at Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport, Maros Regency, South Sulawesi. Dozens of Chinese foreign workers entered Indonesia in the midst of a pandemic that is now engulfing the country.

The arrival of the workers from China is in the public spotlight because the government is currently implementing Restrictions on Community Activities Java-Balito suppress the spread of Covid-19. Stakeholder Relations Manager, Iwan Risdianto confirmed the arrival of about 20 foreign workers from China arriving at Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport when confirmed.

On the other hand, the South Sulawesi immigration authorities did not know about the arrival of this Chinese foreign worker at Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport. Head of the Immigration Division for the South Sulawesi Region, Dodi Karnida, suspected that they arrived using domestic flights.

Those accidents were the same when 500 workers came to Indonesia during the early spreading of Covid-19 in Indonesia. Indonesian Maritime and Investment coordinator spokenman, Jodi Mahardi argued,”Those accidents were the same when 500 workers came to Indonesia during the early spreading of Covid-19 in Indonesia. Indonesian Maritime and Investment coordinator spoken man, Jodi Mahardi argued,”I will speak as it is. The plan for the presence of 500 Chinese foreign workers around the end of June or early July is to accelerate the construction of smelters using RKEF (Rotary Kiln-Electric Furnace) technology from China.”

And it was reasserted by Indonesian maritime and investment, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan told if the Chinese workers should be allowed to re-enter Indonesia because the delay in Chinese projects that currently depend on Chinese workers has a negative impact on the economy.

Recommendation to Jokowi

Regarding what happened in Indonesia after 3 years ago about Chinese step, Jokowi must stand without hesitation to have negotiation with China. Even if China gives an economic ‘miracle’ to Indonesia, it will impact society.

When Chinese workers come to Indonesia, more Indonesian workers lose their jobs. It is confirmed by  Said Iqbal, president of the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions. Said argues that, “The arrival of Chinese workers has hurt the sense of justice of local workers and Indonesian people”. Therefore, The government should immediately cancel the permits for foreigners and give priority to domestic workers.

Lastly, Director of Indonesian Survey Institute, Djayadi Hanan, said if China’s influence in Indonesia is bigger that the United States in 2020. When it can be compared, China got 66% and the US 49%. But, even though the number is huge, the effect was negative perception in China from Indonesian.

Therefore, the government should take a lesson from Indonesian perception to have a negotiation with Beijing.

Habib Pashya
Habib Pashya
Research Assistant, Universitas Islam Indonesia


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