(Indonesia which geographically spans Asia and Australasia, but politically is an Asian power, is included here, as is resistance to Indonesian rule in Aceh, East Timor and West Papua.)
It was in Asia that key theorists of two types of popular struggle emerged in the first half of the 20th century: Gandhi’s satyagraha in India and Mao’s guerrilla warfare in China. Forms of guerrilla warfare were widely used until the 1970s in struggles against colonialism and western intervention (notably in Vietnam). Armed violence has also been a resort for some minorities demanding independence (as in Burma) or those resisting major social injustice (for example the Naxalites in India).
Nevertheless, there have been significant nonviolent movements in Asia, both in India where the Gandhian legacy is still important, and notably in Burma and the Philippines. (NB Tibet is referenced under C. II.) In addition, the trend towards mass popular demonstrations to demand democracy since the 1970s (one cause of the ‘third wave’ of democratization in the last part of the century), was reflected in Asia in unarmed and predominantly peaceful protests in Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand. There were also significant civilian protests against military rule in Pakistan, and although these sometimes included street fighting, they also involved a range of nonviolent methods such as boycotts and civil disobedience.
One interesting development in the last two decades has been that a number of guerrilla movements have decided to turn towards unarmed, instead of armed, resistance. Four examples included here are: East Timor and Nepal (2006) where unarmed resistance proved effective, and Kashmir, where so far it has not, and West Papua where forms of unarmed protest on specific issues appear to have achieved more than the largely token armed resistance.
A useful source for researching particular campaigns in Asia is: Far Eastern Economic Review, which carries frequent, but usually brief reports on important developments. More general sources are the International Crisis Group reports and World Today (for brief but prompt reports).
Asian Survey is an academic journal which publishes broader political assessments. For a more radical perspective see: Critical Asian Studies, published by Routledge (formerly Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars).
India is not included here, despite the great number of the post-independence nonviolent campaigns. These have more the character of social movements and will feature in the second volume. The 1970s campaign against corruption and then against the 1975-77 State of Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi is, however, relevant to this section. The painful splits it caused between Gandhians have hampered subsequent study of J.P. Narayan’s call for ‘Total Revolution’, but there is one detailed study of the movement: