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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

Updated 56 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.

Senate Republicans block voting rights bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate floor on Jan. 18. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Republicans blocked Democrats' voting rights legislation from coming to a final vote on Wednesday in what was largely viewed as a doomed effort from the start.

Why it matters: The failed vote underscores the Democratic Party's current uphill battle to pass sweeping legislation in a 50-50 Senate.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden says Russia likely to invade Ukraine

President Biden addressed the brewing conflict between Russia and Ukraine during a press briefing Wednesday, saying of Russian President Vladimir Putin, "my guess is he will move in."

Why it matters: U.S. officials have issued a series of warnings about Russia's threatening military buildup on the border with Ukraine, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying in Kyiv earlier Wednesday that Russia could invade "on very short notice."