List of active separatist movements in Asia

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This is a list of currently active separatist movements in Asia. Separatism includes autonomism and secessionism. What is and is not considered an autonomist or secessionist movement is sometimes contentious. Entries on this list must meet three criteria:

  1. They are active movements with current, active members.
  2. They are seeking greater autonomy or self-determination for a geographic region (as opposed to personal autonomy).
  3. They are the citizens/people of the conflicted area and doesn't come from other countries.

Under each region listed is one or more of the following:

Azerbaijan[edit]

Location of Nagorno-Karabakh
Breakaway state

 Artsakh

Bangladesh[edit]

Languages of Bangladesh

Bangabhumi

Chittagong Hill Tracts

Tripura

Zale'n-gam

China (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau)[edit]

Ethnic issues in China[edit]

Ethnic issues in China arise from Chinese history, nationalism, and other factors. They have driven historical movements such as the Red Turban Rebellion (which targeted the Mongol leadership of the Yuan Dynasty) and the Xinhai Revolution, which overthrew the Manchu Qing Dynasty. Ethnic tensions have led to incidents in the country such as the July 2009 Ürümqi riots.

List of significant secessionist movements in China[edit]

Significant Secessionist Movements in China
No. Claimed Territory Capital City Area (km2) Population (~) Ethnic Group Primary Independence Movement
1 Xinjiang (East Turkestan) Ürümqi 1,828,418 25,000,000 Uyghur people East Turkestan independence movement
2 Xizang (Tibet) Lhasa 1,228,400 3,200,000 Tibetan people Tibetan independence movement
3 Flag of the Inner Mongolian People's Party.svg Inner Mongolia Hohhot 1,183,000 25,000,000 Chinese Mongols Inner Mongolian independence movement
4 Hong Kong Hong Kong 2,755 7,500,000 Hong Kong people Hong Kong independence movement
5 Macau Macau 115 700,000 Macau people Macau independence movement
Total China Beijing 4,079,167 61,400,000 Chinese people Chinese nationalism
Map of Manchukuo, usually claimed by the Manchurian nationalists

Chinese municipalities[edit]

Shanghai

Chinese provinces[edit]

Guangdong

Manchuria

Chinese autonomous regions[edit]

There are five province-level autonomous regions within the People's Republic of China.

Guangxi Autonomous Region (Guangxi AR) — Independence movement

  • Ethnic group: Zhuangs
    • Proposed independent state: Flag of the Zhuang people.svg Guangxi

Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (Ningxia Hui AR)

Inner Mongolia (Nei Mongol) Autonomous Region (Inner Mongolia AR) — Independence or Irredentist movement (Greater Mongolia)

Tibet (Xizang) Autonomous Region (Tibet AR) — Independence movement

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang UAR) — Independence (East Turkestan) or Irredentist (Turkestan) or Islamic extremist movement

Chinese special administrative regions[edit]

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (Hong Kong SAR)[6] — Autonomist or Independence movement

Prominent autonomist and independence movements in Hong Kong SAR

Sovereignty-related fringe movements in Hong Kong SAR

Macao (Macau) Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (Macau/Macao SAR) — Autonomist or Independence movement

Prominent autonomist and independence movements in Macau SAR

  • Ethnic group: Macau people
    • Proposed independent state: Macau Independent City-State
    • Proposed autonomous region: Permanent Macao (Macau) Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (no expiration date)
      • Movement: Macau autonomy movement

Sovereignty-related fringe movements in Macau SAR

Cyprus[edit]

The northern areas of the island of Cyprus administered by Turkish Cypriots
Breakaway state

 Northern Cyprus

Georgia[edit]

Georgian administrative divisions are outlined in black. Russian-occupied territories (Abkhazia and South Ossetia) are shown in pink.

Breakaway states:

 Abkhazia

 South Ossetia

Proposed autonomous movements:[when?] Armenians in Javakheti

India[edit]

Map of autonomous divisions of India
Autonomous councils in India
North Eastern autonomous divisions
Autonomous councils in North East India
Political map of the Kashmir region districts, showing the Pir Panjal range and the Kashmir Valley or Vale of Kashmir.

Assam

Kashmir

Kamtapur[11][12][13]

Karbistan

Manipur

Nagaland

Punjab

Indonesia[edit]

The map of native ethnic groups in Indonesia, foreign ethnic groups such as Chinese, Arab, and Indian are not shown, but usually inhabit urban areas.

Flag of Aceh.png Aceh

  • Ethnic groups: Acehnese
    • Proposed state: Flag of Free Aceh Movement.svg Republic of Aceh
    • Militant organisation: Free Aceh Movement (negotiated peace with the Indonesian government in 2005, and now it is a civil movement, but the separatism still has supporters)

Flag of Bali.svg Bali

Flag of North Sumatra.svg Batakia

Flag of North Sulawesi.svg Minahasa[17][18]

  • Ethnic group: Minahasan
    • Proposed state: Gerakan Kemerdekaan Minahasa

Flag of North Sumatra.svg Riau

South Moluccas

Coat of Arms, Tana Toraga Regency.png Tana Toraja

  • Ethnic group: Torajan
    • Proposed state:Tana Toraja[20]
    • Advocacy group: Bonggakaradeng

Iran[edit]

Khūzestān

Iranian Kurdistan

Balochistan

Iraq[edit]

Proposed state:  Republic of Kurdistan

Proposed autonomous area: Nineveh Plains

Proposed autonomous area: Al-Rafidain Autonomous Region

  • Ethnic groups: Assyrians, Turkmen, Yazidis
    • Political parties: Turkmen Rescue Foundation, Yazidi Independent Supreme Council and the Al-Rafidain Organization

Japan[edit]

Map of the distribution of Ainu in Hokkaidō
Political map of Okinawa before unification.

Flag of Hokkaido Prefecture.svg Hokkaido[23][24]

Flag of Okinawa Prefecture.svg Okinawa

Malaysia[edit]

Johor

  • Proposed state: Johor[26]

Kelantan

Sarawak[28][29][30][31]

  • Ethnic groups: Melanau, Dayak
  • Proposed state: Sarawak
    • Advocacy group: Borneo Heritage Foundation (BHF), Sarawak For Sarawakian Big Team (S4S Big Team), Sarawak Association of People's Aspirations (SAPA), Sarawak Sovereignty Movement, Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia (SSKM), Sarawak Liberation Movement[28][32][33]

Sabah[28][29]

Myanmar[edit]

Ethnolinguistic Groups of Burma/Myanmar
Map of conflict zones in Myanmar. States and regions affected by fighting during and after 1995 are highlighted in yellow.
Map of Myanmar and its divisions, including Shan State, Kachin State, Rakhine State and Karen State.

Flag of Rakhine.svg Arakan

Flag of Chin State.svg Zo Asia

Flag of Kachin State.svg Kachin

Flag of the Karen National Union.svg Kawthoolei

Flag of Kayah State.svg Karenni

Kokang

Flag of Mon State (2018).svg Mon State

Rohingya flag.png Northern Rakhine State

Flag of the Shan State.svg Shan States

Flag of the Wa State.png Wa State

Flag of Bnei Menashe.svg Zale'n-gam

Nepal[edit]

Nepal ethnic groups

Kirat Flag Danesh Rai.svg Kirat Autonomous State

Flagge fan Madesj.png Madhesh

Terai

Pakistan[edit]

Balochistan
Location of Gilgit-Baltistan
Districts of Sindh

Azad Kashmir

Flag of Balochistan.svg Balochistan

Flag of Sindh.svg Sindh[43][44]

Flag of Gilgit-Baltistan.svg Gilgit-Baltistan

Philippines[edit]

Bangsamoro Region

Cordillera Administrative Region

National Capital Region

Russia[edit]

Summary[edit]

This table shows only the list of movements. The source of each movement is cited in its own section. The population of each area is provided for information only.

Number Land Capital Area Population Ethnic Main Political Party
All of Asian Russia
1 Flag of Siberia.svg Siberian Republic Novosibirsk 13,100,000 40,000,000 Sibiryak people Siberian regionalism
Far Eastern Federal District of Asian Russia
2 Flag of Sakha.svg Sakha Republic Yakutsk 3,083,523 1,000,000 Yakuts Sakha-Amuk
3 Flag of Far Eastern Republic.svg Far Eastern Republic Chita 1,900,000 3,000,000 Far Eastern Russians Alliance of the Pacific Peoples
4 Flag of Buryatia.svg Buryatia Ulan-Ude 351,300 1,000,000 Buryats All-Buryat Association
5 Flag of Koryakia.svg Koryakia Palana 292,600 15,000 Koryaks
6 Flag of Nanaysky rayon (Khabarovsk kray).png Nanaia Troitskoye 27,644 15,000 Nanais Nanai People's Platform
7 Flag of Sakhalin Oblast.svg Sakhalin Oblast Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk 87,100 497,973 Japanese People, Sakhalin Koreans, Ainu people
Siberian Federal District of Asian Russia
8 Flag of Taymyr Autonomous Okrug.svg Taymyria Dudinka 879,929 40,000 Dolgans
9 Flag of Evenkia.svg Evenkia Tura 763,197 20,000 Evenks
10 Flag of Tuva.svg Tuva Kyzyl 170,500 300,000 Tuvanians People's Party of Sovereign Tuva
11 Flag of Altai Republic.svg Altai Republic Gorno-Altaysk 92,600 220,000 Altaians Altai-Sayan United Movement
12 Flag of Khakassia.svg Khakassia Abakan 61,900 550,000 Khakhas
13 Flag of the Shor people.png Shoria Tashtagol 25,000 15,000 Shors
14 Flag of Ust-Orda Buryat Autonomous Okrug.svg Ust-Orda Buryatia Ust-Ordynsky 22,138 150,000 Orda-Buryats All-Buryat Association
15 Flag of Agin-Buryatia.svg Agin Buryatia Aginskoye 19,600 80,000 Agin-Buryats All-Buryat Association
Ural Federal District of Asian Russia
16 Flag of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District.svg Yamalia Salekhard 750,300 500,000 Yamal Nenets Yamal for Future Generations
17 Flag of Yugra.svg Khanty-Mansiysk (Yugra) Khanty-Mansiysk 534,800 1,500,000 Ob-Ugrians Association to Save Yurga

Autonomist movements[edit]

Koryak Okrug[57][58]

  • Ethnic group: Koryaks
    • Proposed federal subject: Koryak Autonomous Okrug

Taymyrsky Dolgano-Nenetsky District[59][60]

Asian Russia[edit]

Siberia or Siberian Federal District[61][62]

Far Eastern Federal District[edit]

Flag of Far Eastern Republic.svg Far Eastern Republic

 Sakha Republic

 Buryatia[63]

  • Ethnic group: Buryats
    • Proposed state:  Buryatia
    • Political party:All-Buryat Association for the Development of Culture

Flag of Nanaysky rayon (Khabarovsk kray).png Nanaia

 Sakhalin Oblast

Siberian Federal District[edit]

Regions commonly associated with Mongol irredentism.

 Agin-Buryat Autonomous Okrug

 Altai Republic

  • Ethnic group: Altai people
    • Proposed state: Flag of the Confederated Republic of Altai.gif Confederated Republic of Altai
    • Movement: Altai-Sayun United Movement
    • Organizations: Altai Turks Associstion, Kurualtai of the Altai People
    • Political parties: Confederal Nation of the Altai Tribes, Ene-Bayat

Flag of Evenkia.svg Evenkia

 Khakassia

Flag of Tashtagolsky District.png Shor Mountain

  • Ethnic group: Shor
    • Proposed state: Flag of the Shor people.png Shoria
    • Organization: Berikulian Sishkars

 Tuva

  • Ethnic group: Tuvans
  • Proposed state: Flag of Uriankhai (1918-1921).svg Tuva
    • Political parties: People's Party of Sovereign Tuva, People's Front "Free Tuva", Tiva Turu

Flag of Ust-Orda Buryat Autonomous Okrug.svg Ust-Orda Buryat Autonomous Okrug

Ural Federal District[edit]

 Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug[65][66][67]

  • Ethnic group: Khanty people and Mansi people
    • Proposed state:  Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug
    • Advocacy movements: Association to Save Yurga, Khanty Way, Mansi Way, Ob-Ugrian Union, Society for the Survival and Socio-Economic Development of the Mansi People, Ugrian Association, Youth Public Organization, Yurga Restoration

Flag of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District.svg Yamalia/Nenets Autonomous Okrug

Saudi Arabia[edit]

Summary

Number Land Capital Area Population Ethnic Main Political Party
1 Najran Najran 149,511 550,000 Shia Arab Ahrar al-Najran
2 Flag of Upper Asir.svg Asir Abha 76,693 2,250,000 Arabs Asser Regional Movement (ARM)
3 Flag of the Emirate of Ha'il.svg Jabal Shammar Ha'il 103,887 600,000 Arabs Shammar Revival Movement
4 Al-Hassa Dammam 672,522 5,000,000 Shia Arab
Total Saudi Arabia Riyadh 1,002,603 8,400,000 Saudi Arabia no legalised political parties in Saudi Arabia
The Arabian Peninsula in 1914
Map of Saudi Arabia with the Eastern Province highlighted

In 2013 Robin Wright’s colorful map of a politically re-divided Middle East in the New York Times, which illustrated her article “Imagining a Remapped Middle East.” The map, entitled “How 5 Could Become 14,” shows a hypothetical future division of Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia into 14 potential new countries along with two additional city-states. I was immediately reminded of Ralph Peters’ troublesome remapping of the same region. As explained in a previous GeoCurrents post, Peters’ intriguing mental exercise in redrawing national boundaries was widely misinterpreted across the Muslim world as indicating a nefarious plot to enhance US power. As a result, the region’s pronounced anti-Americanism was further inflamed.[68][69][70][71]

Furthermore, in June 2012 the Yemeni newspaper Al-Shareh revealed the names of high-ranking Yemeni state officials and tribal sheikhs who had been receiving monthly bribes from Saudi Arabia. This sparked anger among Yemenis, and a group of Yemeni activists founded the "Asir Movement" in order to reclaim the provinces of Asir, Najran, and Jizan, which Yemen conceded in the 2000 Treaty of Jeddah. A "rights organization which has worked to denounce Saudi Arabia’s abuses in northern Yemen",[72] the Asir Movement described itself as a “civil popular” movement that seeks to raise "internal Yemeni awareness" about the situation and to explore legal remedies against Saudi Arabia "for their involvement and assistance in abdicating Yemen’s historical right to its territories", all while emphasizing Yemeni unity. The movement sought to speak out against the 2000 Jeddah border agreement as well as the 1934 Taif Agreement that was signed in 1934 to end the Saudi–Yemeni War.[73]

The Qatif conflict refers to the modern phase of sectarian tensions and violence in Eastern Arabia between Arab Shi'a Muslims and Arab Sunni majority, which has ruled Saudi Arabia since early 20th century. The conflict encompasses civil unrest which has been sporadically ongoing since 1979 events, pro-democracy and pro-human rights protests and occasional armed incidents, which increased in 2017 as part of the 2017–19 Qatif unrest.

Najran

Flag of Upper Asir.svg Asir

Flag of the Emirate of Ha'il.svg Jabal Shammar (Ha'il Region)[74]

Al-Hassa (Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia) (Qatif conflict)

Sri Lanka[edit]

 Tamil Eelam

Syria[edit]

De facto autonomous region:

De facto SA-NES Flag.svg Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (Rojava)

Taiwan[edit]

The Republic of China (ROC), commonly known as Taiwan, is a state that has diplomatic relations with 14 United Nations member states (as well as the Holy See, an observer).

Indigenous Taiwanese autonomy movement[edit]

Taiwan independence movement[edit]

Republic of China ( Kaohsiung, New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, Taipei, Taiwan-Penghu, Taoyuan)

Kinmen County, Republic of China (Kinmen) — Independence movement

  • Ethnic group: Kinmenese people, Taiwanese people
    • Proposed unification with a proposed state: Flag of World Taiwanese Congress.svg Kinmen County, Republic of Taiwan
      • Movement: Kinmen-Taiwan unification movement, Taiwan independence movement, Taiwanese nationalism
        • Note: Kinmen is currently ruled by the Republic of China, so it and Taiwan are de facto already united. However, Kinmen's history is highly distinct from Taiwan's, and they've only really had a shared history since 1949, when the Republic of China retreated to Taiwan. Furthermore, Kinmen's recent history has been largely shaped by military conflict between the ROC and the PRC and by the fact that martial law was abolished in Kinmen in 1992, five years after it was abolished in Taiwan (in 1987). If the "Republic of Taiwan" were to be established, many people are uncertain of whether Kinmen should be included in this new country. Some young people in Kinmen identify as Taiwanese but the Kinmen County government is pushing a pro-(re)unification (with the PRC) agenda.
      • Area of Kinmen: Roughly 150 km2
      • Population of Kinmen: Roughly 130,000 people

Thailand[edit]

Pattani Flag.png Patani

Turkey[edit]

Map showing Kurdish majority areas within Turkey

Flag of Kurdistan.svg Northern Kurdistan[82]

 Assyria

Uzbekistan[edit]

Flag of Karakalpakstan.svg Karakalpakstan

Vietnam[edit]

Flag of KKF.svg Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation

Montagnard Foundation, Inc.

Yemen[edit]

Yemen prior to unification
Hadhramaut - Map of the Federation and the Protectorate of South Arabia
The Arabian Peninsula in 1914

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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