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Indonesian Muslims demonstrated to criticize the Chinese government's detention of Uighurs. Photo: Fachrul Reza/Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Indonesian President Joko Widodo is seeking re-election next month in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country and, as the FT points out, “presenting himself as defender of the faith is central to his campaign strategy.” But when the newspaper asked him about the imprisonment of up to 1 million Muslims in China’s Xinjiang territory, he repeatedly declined to comment.

Why it matters: “His reticence signals how influential Beijing has become in Asia and how the Chinese Communist party is increasingly able to control global narratives and silence critics far beyond China’s borders."

  • “The president’s unwillingness to criticize the Chinese government echoes similar reluctance in many countries, from Pakistan to New Zealand.”
  • Somewhat miraculously considering the scale of its human rights abuses, James Leibold of La Trobe University in Melbourne argues, “China is actually winning the propaganda battle over its treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang.”

The latest: Kazakhstan recently arrested activist Serikzhan Bilash, who has campaigned for the closure of the Xinjiang camps, and charged him with inciting ethnic strife. Ethnic Kazakhs are among those held in the camps.

  • Turkey is the only Muslim-majority country to have condemned the mass detentions.

The U.S. has been more willing to speak out. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently said such horrific human rights abuses hadn’t been seen “since the 1930s.”

Go deeper

Air quality alerts issued as California fires threaten more sequoias

The Windy Fire blazes through the Long Meadow Grove of giant sequoia trees near the Trail of 100 Giants in Sequoia National Forest, near California Hot Springs, on Tuesday. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Two wildfires were threatening California's sequoia trees over overnight — hours after authorities issued fresh evacuation orders and warnings, along with air quality alerts.

The big picture: Air quality alerts were issued Wednesday for the Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley as smoke from the Windy and KNP Complex fires resulted in hazy, "ash-filled" skies from Fresno to Tulare, the Los Angeles Times notes.

Asymptomatic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a September news conference in Viera, Fla. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Wednesday an emergency order allowing parents to decide whether their children should quarantine or stay in school if they're exposed to COVID-19, provided they're asymptomatic.

Why it matters: People infected with COVID-19 can spread the coronavirus starting from two days before they display symptoms, according to the CDC. Quarantine helps prevent the virus' spread.

Federal judge: Florida ban on sanctuary cities racially motivated

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday struck down parts of a Florida law aimed at banning local governments from establishing sanctuary city policies, arguing in part that the law is racially motivated and that it has the support of hate groups.

Why it matters: In a 110-page ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom said the law — signed and championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause because it was adopted with discriminatory motives.