Jakarta – Indonesia will not meddle in the alleged persecution of Uighur Muslims in China, a presidential advisor has said, in the latest statement to indicate Chinese pressure on the world's largest Muslim-majority country.
Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko told reporters Monday that the government would not be poking its nose in another country's business, framing the plight of the Uighur as China's internal affairs.
"Every country has the sovereign right to manage its own citizens, so the Indonesian government will not meddle in the internal affairs of China," Moeldoko said at his office in Jakarta, as quoted by Tempo.co.
His statement comes following fresh scrutiny against some of Indonesia's largest Muslim groups, including Nahdlatul Ulama, Muhammadiyah and the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), for accepting the advances of the Chinese government in the alleged internment of the Uighurs, a minority distinct from China's ethnic Han.
A recent Wall Street Journal report alleged that the organizations had been "persuaded" by the Chinese government to remain silent on the issue by sponsoring visits to the Xinjiang region, the location of the controversial Uighur "reeducation" camps.
Beijing has denied allegations of human rights violations against the Uighurs.
Opinions in Indonesia are split on how best to approach the situation, amid perceived discrimination of Muslim minorities around the world.
Muhammadiyah chairman Haedar Nashir said that in the case of the Uighurs, the organization insisted the government had to be fair, even when relations with other countries turned complicated.
If there was discrimination involved, Haedar said, Indonesia should act in accordance with the mandate of the 1945 Constitution to maintain world peace based on independence and social justice. "We ask that Indonesia also take a firm stance," Haedar said in Yogyakarta on Sunday.
However, Moeldoko insisted the government would not get involved. "I think it is internationally accepted not to meddle in another country's affairs," he said. (tjs)