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Indonesia's Ethnic Chinese Stake Hope In New Political Leaders

Since Indonesia transitioned to democracy in the late 1990s, life for the long-suffering ethnic Chinese population has gradually improved. It's about to get even better.

 Indonesia Chinese celebrate the Chap Go Meh ceremony in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2012
Indonesia Chinese celebrate the Chap Go Meh ceremony in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2012
Chen Lixiong

JAKARTA — An old woman who owns a traditional Chinese medical massage shop in Kelapa Gading, a north Jakarta neighborhood where Chinese-Indonesians are concentrated, points to a billboard that is in Chinese characters, which used to be banned on all public signs. She notes that her 50-year-old daughter was only allowed to study Chinese for a limited time back when she was in school, whereas today her grandson speaks fluent Chinese.

This reflects the complex history of the local Chinese people. Indonesia's ethnic Chinese include people with diverse political tendencies, wealth and religious beliefs. According to Indonesia's latest census, there are 2.8 million ethnic Chinese living in the country. This accounts for 1.2% of the total population, the majority of whom are Muslim.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Hide-And-Seek Of Drone Warfare, A Letter From Ukraine's Front Line

A member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces writes his account of the new dynamic of targeting, and being targeted by, the invading Russian troops, as drones circle above and trenches get left behind.

A Ukrainian military drone operator during a testing of anti-drone rifle in Kyiv.

Igor Lutsenko*

KYIV — The current war in Ukraine is a game of hide-and-seek. Both sides are very well-stocked with artillery, enough to destroy the enemy along many kilometers. Swarms of drones fly through the air day and night, keeping a close eye on the earth's surface below. If they notice something interesting, it immediately becomes a target. Depending on the priority, they put it in line for destruction by artillery.

Therefore, the only effective way to survive is to hide, or at least somehow prove to the drones your non-priority status — and avoid moving to the front of the 'queue of death.'

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In general, the nature of this queue is a particular thing. It may seem to be a god, but is instead a simple artillery captain's decision of when to have lunch, and when to fire on the house where several enemy soldiers are staying. It's just a handful of ordinary people (observers, artillerymen) deciding how long their enemies will live depending on their own schedule or the weather, the availability of ammunition or if they're feeling tired.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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