According to a 2010 census, there are around three million Chinese-Indonesians in the country. [Aisyah Llewellyn/Al Jazeera]

Medan, Indonesia – In February, presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto made his first visit to Medan, the provincial capital of North Sumatra and home to one of Indonesia’s largest populations of ethnic Chinese.

Thousands turned out to hear what the former general had to say. While many other Indonesians might be focussed on issues of identity, the ethnic Chinese minority has more pragmatic concerns.

“People are often swayed by religious affiliations or racial ties, but that’s less the case with Chinese-Indonesian voters,” said Endar Hadi Purwanto, who owns a traditional Chinese tea shop in Medan.

“We’re more interested in the goals of the candidates and whether they

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