Saturday, October 24, 2009

Panglong Conference(彬龍協定)

First Panglong conference

In March 1946, the Saophas or Chaofa (Sawbwa in Burmese) of the Shan states sponsored a conference at Panglong in order to discuss the future of the Shan states after independence. It was led by the Saopha of Yawnghwe Sao Shwe Thaik, and the Kachin, Chin and Karen representatives were also invited. They realised that Burma would soon gain independence from the British, and that the Frontier Areas faced a real risk of remaining a British dominion since the hill tracts were deemed backward and not yet ready for self-determination. The pre-war prime minister U Saw and Thakin Nu from the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League (AFPFL) gave speeches as the Burman majority representatives, and a message from the British Governor was read out which reiterated the White Paper policy that no decisions would be made on the Frontier Areas and their peoples without their full consent.

The Chin delegates expressed their sense of insecurity stemming from their heavy economic dependence on Burma Proper, hence their weak bargaining position. The Kachins were critical of U Nu's diatribe against the British and skeptical of Burman sincerity as regards equal rights. The Karens wanted a separate state that included the Tenasserim seaboard. The one positive outcome was the formation of a United Burma Cultural Society with Sao Shwe Thaik as chairman and U Saw as secretary.

Relations later improved between the hills peoples and the AFPFL through contacts such as the Sama Duwa Sinwa Nawng, a Buddhist Kachin whose father was killed in the fight against British annexation at the turn of the century, and who himself raised Kachin levies and fought with the Burma National Army (BNA) in the Second World War, also the Chin leader Vamthu Mawng, and the Sawbwa of the Pa-O substate of Hsihseng (Hsahtung or Thaton) Sao Khun Kyi. In November 1946, a Supreme Council of the United Hills Peoples was formed at the instigation of the AFPFL, and Sao Shwe Thaik was elected as president.

The minority leaders however continued to lobby London and the Frontier Areas Administration (FAA) directly at the same time the AFPFL was in almost continuous consultation with the British authorities for independence. The Karen National Associations (KNA), founded in 1881, had argued at the 1917 Montagu-Chelmsford hearings in India that Burma was not "yet in a fit state for self-government" to the dismay of Burmese nationalists, but 3 years later, after submitting a criticism of the 1920 Craddock Reforms, won for themselves 5 (later 12) seats in the Legislative Council of 130 (later 132) members. Sao Shwe Thaik and Sawbwa of Mong Mit Sao Khin Maung travelled to London to argue for an independent Shan state at the Burma Round Table hearings in 1931, despite the British Governor's disapproval. The Karen Goodwill Mission to London in August 1946 likewise failed to receive any encouragement for their separatist demands from the British government.

H.N.C.Stevenson, the director of the FAA, criticized by both the Burma Office and the AFPFL, lamented the lost opportunities, and the lack of economic data or coordination between the Frontier Areas and Ministerial Burma. He stated,"I believe that the multiplication of and strengthening of the economic relations between the hills and the plains will be the shortest and most inexpensive route to a unified Burma."

In Blueprint for a Free Burma, composed by the Japanese military but wrongfully attributed to Aung San, the question of minorities is addressed in similar vein:

"the essential prerequisite is the building of one unified nation. In concrete terms it means we must now bridge all gulfs now existing through British machinations between the major Burmese race and the hill peoples, the Arakanese, the Shans and unite all these peoples into one nation with equal treatment unlike the present system which divides our people into 'backward' and 'administered' sections. All the natural barriers that make mutual associations and contacts shall be overcome, for instance, by construction of effective modern communications such as railways and roads."

Panglong Agreement

A significant breakthrough came when an agreement was signed between the Shan, Kachin and Chin leaders, and Aung San as leader of the Governor's Executive Council at the second Panglong Conference on February 12, 1947. The Karens sent only 4 observers; also absent were the Mon and Arakanese representatives as they were not considered separately, but within Ministerial Burma. There were 23 signatories in all expressing their willingness to work with the 'interim Burmese government' in order to achieve independence speedily, and agreeing in principle the formation of a 'Union of Burma'.

* The Agreement proposed a Counsellor to the Governor to be appointed and co-opted as a member of the Executive Council, on recommendation by the Supreme Council of United Hills Peoples, in order to deal with the Frontier Areas, thus bringing the subject 'within the purview of the Executive Council', and the Counsellor to be assisted by 2 deputies who should also be allowed to attend relevant meetings of the EC.
* Full autonomy in internal administration of the Frontier Areas was to be accepted in principle.
* A separate Kachin state was agreed to be desirable, subject to discussion in the Constituent Assembly.
* Citizens of the Frontier Areas were to enjoy the rights and privileges regarded as fundamental in democratic countries.
* The financial autonomy of the Federated Shan States was not to be affected.
* Financial assistance to the Kachin and Chin Hills likewise was not to be affected, and the feasibility of the same arrangement for them as existed with the Shan states to be considered.

The British were left in no doubt that Aung San and the Burman dominated AFPFL were able to mediate with the leaders of the hills peoples. Sao Shwe Thaik was appointed Counsellor to the Governor, with Sinwa Nawng and Vumthu Mawng as his deputies. Aung San's assurance on the day, "If Burma receives one kyat, you will also get one kyat", has often been quoted by ethnic nationalists since.


Thanks to the Panglong Agreement, the Union of Burma came into being after independence on January 4, 1948, and February 12 has been celebrated since as 'Union Day'. The spirit of Panglong is often invoked, although many today feel that another Panglong is long overdue.[4] The debate certainly needs to move on from the old black-and-white caricatures of 'imperialist stooges' and 'chauvinist oppressors' for any progress to be made.

Even at the time, there was no representation from the Karen and Karenni,no consideration regarding the Mon and Rakhine as they fell within Ministerial Burma, and the Pa-O, Palaung and Wa were subsumed under the Shan states, although the Saopha of Tawngpeng Palaung substate was among the signatories. The Frontier Areas Commission of Enquiry (FACE) was set up in April/May 1947 as a condition of the Aung San-Atlee Agreement of January 27, 1947, and although the Burmese independence movement was represented by just one united front, the AFPFL, there were 50 often conflicting groups from the hill tracts; the Delta Karen, Mon and Rakhine were still excluded.

The shortcomings of the conference which resurfaced in the Constituent Assembly, and the consequent inadequacies of the Constitution promulgated on September 24, 1947, were to emerge soon after independence, and in fact in the Arakan the veteran monk U Seinda had already started a rebellion in May 1947. The Karen had isolated themselves further by boycotting both the EC and the elections to the Constituent Assembly, notwithstanding seats reserved for them, though persistent in their demand for an independent state similar to the kind their cousins, the Karenni, had enjoyed under their own Sawbwas; their future was as a result left unsettled, deferred till after independence. The Kachin had to make concessions in their representation in parliament in exchange for the inclusion of Myitkyina and Bhamo, towns with Shan and Burman majorities, in the new state, although in the hills the Duwas would continue their rule. The Chin ended up with no state, only a special division. The Mon and Rakhine again were not even considered separately. One Mon group contested unsuccessfully at the elections which they claimed were rigged, but another boycotted; the Mon after independence threw in their lot with the Karen and joined the rebellion.

(extracted from wikipedia)

彬 龍 協 議












九、被本協議所授的一切安排,都不會防礙克欽族(KACHIN HILLS)和欽族(CHIN HILLS) 應從緬甸國家收入中得到的財政幚助。總督常設參事會將會同顧問、副顧問審議克欽族和欽族與緬甸和撣邦之間的財政安排,相類似的財政安排的可能性。

撣聯邦委員會: 克欽委員會: 緬甸過渡政府:

(1) 坤班吉 南賞大土司。 (1) 幸瓦惱蜜枝那。 (1)昂山

(2) 趙隨迭 永貴土司。 (2) 昭裏 蜜枝那。

(3) 趙宏發 北相雨土司。 (3) 頂拉檔 蜜枝那。

(4) 趙農 萊卡土司。 (4) 昭拉 八莫。

(5) 趙展通 勐邦土司。 (5) 昭亂 八莫。

(6) 趙通岩 沙勐康土司。 (6) 拉邦佳龍 八莫。

(7) 坤逢 沙同土司代表。

(8) 龍頂岩 (北相雨)克欽代表。 欽邦委員會 :

(9) 龍通面 (北相雨)克欽代表。 (1)吳臘蒙 ATM.IDSM 法郎。

(10) 龍佳步 (北相雨)克欽代表。 (2)吳團甲卡 ATM地丁。

(11) 坤左 (北相雨)克欽代表。 (3)吳桂滿 ATM哈卡。

(12) 趙也發 (北相雨)克欽代表。

(13) 坤梯 (北相雨)克欽代表。


The Place - Panglong, Burma

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There are three towns in Shan State with the names 'Panglong'. Of them, the most well known one is the Panglong where the historical conference took place, which is near Lashio. Second, the Panglong in the Wa regions near China border, a town founded by Chinese Muslim settlers in the trans-Salween Wa State. Third, the Panlong in northern Shan State, a ruby mining town. Panglong, located in southern Shan State, Myanmar (formerly Burma), was host to the Panglong Conference. The town is home to Panglong University.

It stands at a height of four thousand six hundred feet above sea level, in a hollow surrounded by abrupt low hills, or rather cliffs, with a singularly jagged outline. The number of houses has been steadily increasing, but they have not been counted and estimates vary greatly. These are, however, certainly over three hundred. They are built of a kind of trellis or wattle, covered with mud and sometimes white-washed, and have thatch roofs. Each house stands with its own little fenced enclosure with a garden of peach and pear trees. These is a sort of horsepond in the village, but the water is undrinkable and the supply of good water is unsatisfactory. It is brought down in little runnels from the western hills. Many of the slopes round the village are jungle covered, but in some places they are cleared for poppy cultivation. All the roads to Pang Long pass through two small defiles, one north and the other south of the village. At both north and south entrances there the other south of the village. At both north and south entrances there are recently-built gateways constructed of sun-dried bricks, with loop holes and a thatched roof.

The dominant group in the villages were the Panthay, chiefly Hui migrants from Dali, Baoshan, Shanning, Menghua and elsewhere in southern and western Yunnan.These Chinese Muslims were 'all merchants, mule-owners and men of substance'

Many of the prominent traders in Pang Long have made the Haj to Mecca and Medina, and there is a mosque near the pond in the town. To supervise this they engaged a Moulvi in 1892, Fakir Syed Mahomed… Trade is the chief occupation of the settlement, and provisions of all kinds are scarce and dear. All round stretches a sort of small plateau cleared of trees except in clumps, which give it a park-like appearance, but the great scarcity of water prevents much cultivation and what there is only of dry crops. Some Chinese shoes and skull caps are turned out, but otherwise there are no manufactures. The place owns quite a thousand pack mules and could probably assemble another thousand in a short time. They have also a few pack bullocks, used locally for short trips.

By the time James George Scott, Scottish journalist and colonial administrator who helped establish British colonial rule in Burma, visited Panglong – at least 15 years after the collapse of the Yunnan Muslim Rebellion – the original Panthay settlements had grown to include numbers of Shan and other hill peoples. The Panthay were, generally speaking, affluent enough to employ these more recent settlers as mule-drivers and 'to do the drudgery generally'. In large measure this affluence must have been due the lifting of the Qing proscription on Hui settlement in Yunnan (c. 1888-1890), as a result of which the Panglong "Panthays" were able to re-establish trading contacts with their fellows remaining settled within Yunnan. As a result of this development a number of the original refugees returned to China, merely maintaining agents at Panglong;

The rest is history which continued until today...some sectors are lobbying for a New Panglong Initiative to reestablish the Union of Burma.... Will 2010 election revive the spirit of Panglong?....

1 comment:

  1. The real Panglong is in Southern Shan State. Not in the north. It spell Pinlon in this map and it is near Taunggyi, the capital city of Shan State and even closer to the town call "loilem" It got confused because of name of towns in Shan State have been Burmanized by the Burmese government and all the name and meaning of the town have changed.