Kachin State

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Kachin State (or) Jinghpaw Wunpawng Mungdaw

ကချင်ပြည်နယ် · kachin Wunpawng Mungdan
Kachin Mungdaw (or)Jinghpaw Wunpawng Mungdan
Flag of Kachin State.svg
Seal of Kachin State Government.gif
Kachin State in Myanmar.svg
Location of Kachin State in Myanmar
Coordinates: 26°0′N97°30′E / 26.000°N 97.500°E / 26.000; 97.500 Coordinates: 26°0′N97°30′E / 26.000°N 97.500°E / 26.000; 97.500
Country Flag of Myanmar.svg  Myanmar
Capital Myitkyina
  Chief Minister Khet Aung (NLD)
  Cabinet Kachin State Government
  Legislature Kachin State Hluttaw
  JudiciaryKachin State High Court
  Total89,041.2 km2 (34,379.0 sq mi)
Area rank 3rd
 (2014) [1]
  Rank 10th
  Density19/km2 (49/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Kachinian
  Ethnicities Kachin (includ. Jinghpaw), Zaiwa, Rawang,Lashi Lisu, Han-Chinese, Shan, Naga, Bamar, Nu, Tibetan, Burmese Gurkha
Time zone UTC+06:30 (MMT)
HDI (2015)0.596 [2]
medium · 2nd

Kachin State (or) Jinghpaw Wunpawng Mungdan; Burmese : ကချင်ပြည်နယ်) is the northernmost state of Myanmar. It is bordered by China to the north and east (Tibet and Yunnan, specifically and respectively); Shan State to the south; and Sagaing Region and India (Arunachal Pradesh) to the west. It lies between north latitude 23° 27' and 28° 25' longitude 96° 0' and 98° 44'. The area of Kachin State is 89,041 km2 (34,379 sq mi). The capital of the state is Myitkyina. Other important towns include Bhamo, Mohnyin and Putao.


Kachin State has Myanmar's highest mountain, Hkakabo Razi (5,889 metres (19,321 ft)), forming the southern tip of the Himalayas, and a large inland lake, Indawgyi Lake.


Traditional Kachin society was based on shifting hill agriculture. According to "The Political Systems of Highland Burma: A Study of Kachin Social Structure", written by E. R. Leach, Kachin was not a linguistic category. Political authority was based on chieftains who depended on support from immediate kinsmen. Considerable attention has been given by anthropologists of the Kachin custom of maternal cousin marriage, wherein it is permissible for a man to marry his mother's brother's daughter, but not with the father's sister's daughter. In pre-colonial times, the Kachin were animist.

After the Qing-Konbaung war, the Chinese exercised a degree of control over the present-day northeastern Kachin State. During the British colonization of Burma, the Kachin Hills tribes autonomy was accepted by the British government. British forces carried out two expeditions against the Kachin in 1892 and 1896. In 1910, the British occupied Hpimaw (Chinese characters: 片马, pinyin: Piànmǎ) in the Pianma Incident.

The pre-independence Burmese government under Aung San reached the Panglong Agreement with the Shan, Kachin, and Chin peoples on 12 February 1947. The agreement accepted "Full autonomy in internal administration for the Frontier Areas" in principle and envisioned the creation of a Kachin State by the Constituent Assembly. Burma attained independence on 4 January 1948. Kachin State was formed in the same year out of the former British Burma civil districts of Bhamo and Myitkyina, together with the larger northern district of Puta-o. Kachin State was officially announced on 10 January 1948 and Kachin State Government held "Mungdaw Masat Masat Manau" (forming of Kacahin State Manau) for three consecutive days since 9 to 11 January as happiness since that year they held Manau on January 10 every year until Military in coup 1962. [3] The vast mountainous hinterlands are predominantly Kachin, whereas the more densely populated railway corridor and southern valleys are mostly Shan and Bamar. The northern frontier was not demarcated and until the 1960s Chinese governments had claimed the northern half of Kachin State as Chinese territory since the 18th century.[ citation needed ] Before the British rule, roughly 75% of all Kachin jadeite ended up in China, where it was prized much more highly than the local Chinese nephrite.[ citation needed ]

Kachin troops formerly formed a significant part of the Burmese army. With the unilateral abrogation of the Union of Burma constitution by the Ne Win regime in 1962, Kachin forces withdrew and formed the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) under the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). Aside from the major towns and railway corridor, Kachin State has been virtually independent from the mid-1960s through 1994, with an economy based on agriculture and trade with China, including of jade. After a Myanmar army offensive in 1994 seized the jade mines from the KIO, a peace treaty was signed, permitting continued KIO effective control of most of the State, under aegis of the Myanmar military. This ceasefire immediately resulted in the creation of numerous splinter factions from the KIO and KIA of groups opposed to the SPDC's sham peace accord, and the political landscape remains highly unstable.

Kachin conflict

The complex political situation started when the Kachin armed group was established on October 25, 1960, after the U Nu government announced the state religion as Buddhism, as the Kachin people stopped believing in the government administration system, established after the federal union was agreed upon in the 1947 Panglong agreement. Between 1962 to 2010, the military government ruled over Myanmar. Cease fire agreements between ethnic armed groups and the government were made starting in 1989. And then in 2011 the new government led by President Thein Sein, broke the cease fire agreement which was agreed upon by the former military government and the Kachin ethnic armed group in 1994, resuming fighting against the Kachin who are living in the northern part of Myanmar, northern part of Shan, near the China border on 9th June 2011. Because of the abrupt internal conflict, thousands of internally displaced people fled to refugee camps which are located in the government controlled area as well in the Kachin Independence Army controlled area (Hlaing, 2005).

KIO made a ceasefire agreement with the military government in 1994 while leaving political issues to be discussed with the next elected government. Throughout its struggle, both in the ceasefire and non-ceasefire period, KIO also made agreements with other ethnic rebels and alliances including the Democratic Alliance of Burma (DAB), the National Democratic Front (NDF), and United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC). The main goal was to pressure the military government and restore the federal democratic government with greater autonomy to Kachin State. During its 17 years of ceasefire from 1994 to 2011 the KIO actively participated in the military-led constitution-drafting-process, attending the National Convention, which was boycotted by the democratic icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy and ethnic political parties. The KIO together with 12 other ethnic groups demanded amendments of the draft to be more in line with a federal democratic system and to give autonomy to states (Zaw Oo & Win Min 2007).

The seventeen-year ceasefire broke down and fighting between the Kachin Independence Organization and the government resumed in June 2011 after the Kachin Independent Army disallowed the government’s order to transform into a Border Guard Force and it claimed that the regime’s 2008 Constitution lacked federal democratic principles and equal political rights for ethnic minorities based on the Panglong Agreement. Renewed fighting between the Kachin Independence Army and the Burmese army began on June 9, 2011 at Ta-pein hydropower plan and continued throughout 2012. Initial reports suggested that from June to September 2011 a total of 5,580 Internally Displaced Persons from 1,397 households arrived at 38 IDP camps under Myanmar Government control. [4] In August, 2012 thousands of Kachin refugees were forced by the Chinese Government back into Myanmar despite the continued fighting there; NGOs like Human Rights Watch called to cease such action and pointed the illegality of doing so under international law. [5] As of October 9, 2012, over 100,000 IDPs are taking shelter in various camps across Kachin State. The majority of IDPs (est. 70,000) are currently sheltering in KIA controlled territory. [6] Fatality estimates were difficult to estimate but most reports suggested that between government troops, Kachin Independence Army rebels, and civilians upwards of 1,000 people had died in the conflict.

Even though many Kachins were already displaced internally, only around 150,000 people are reported as IDPs. The Kachins are currently the major target for the Burmese government,[ citation needed ] yet only few Kachins have resettled in the United States or in Australia, as compared to other Myanmar ethnics (such as the Karens and Chins).






Historical population
1973 737,939    
1983 904,794+22.6%
2014 1,689,441+86.7%
Source: 2014 Myanmar Census [1]


Christianity is one of the main religion for Kachin people in Kachin State. Buddhism is the major religion among Bamar and Shan people in Kachin.

% 1983
% 2015 [7]


The Jingpho language was the traditional language of the area, and is the state's lingua franca. The Bamar people (Burmese) were a minority in Kachin State before the independence of Burma from the British, but after 1948, groups of Bamar (Burmese) came to Kachin State to settle down so that offices could be run with the Burmese language, which has caused language shift and commenced the decline of the Kachin language. Many later Kachin generations did not have a chance to speak or learn their language properly at school.

Some Kachin tribes speak and write their own language: the Zaiwa, the Rawang, and the Lisu, who speak both the Lisu language and the Lipo language.


The ethnic data from the 2014 census is available only with the Tatmadaw and not released to the public. As per the 1983 Census, the ethnic composition was Bamar: 29.3%, Shan: 24.2% and Kachin: 38.1%. In a speech delivered on 2016, Min Aung Hlaing of Tatmadaw gave the ethnic composition of the Kachin state as follows: Bamar - 29.2%, Shan - 23.6%, Jingphaw - 18.97%, Lisu - 7%, Rawam - 5%, Lawwaw - 3.33%, Lacheik - 2.89%, Zaikwa - 1.57% and Others - 8%. [8]


The economy of Kachin State is predominantly agricultural. The main products include rice, teak, sugar cane, opium. Mineral products include gold and jade.[ citation needed ] Hpakan is a well known place for its jade mines. [9] Over 600 tons of jade stones, which were unearthed from Lone-Khin area in Hpakan aka Pha-Khant Township in Kachine State, had been displayed in Myanmar Naypyidaw to be sold in November 2011. Most of the jade stones extracted in Myanmar, 25,795 tons in 2009–10 and 32,921 tons in 2008–09, are from Kachin State. The largest jade stone in the world, 3000 tons, 21 metres long, 4.8 metres wide and 10.5 metres high was found in Hpakan in 2000. [10] The Myanmar government pays little attention to the deterioration of environment in Kachin because of jade mining. There has been erosion, flooding and mudslides. Several houses are destroyed every year. [11]

Kachin has deep economic ties with China, which acts as the regions biggest trading partner and chief investor in development project. In 2006, the Prime Minister General Thein Sein made an agreement with the China Power Investment Cooperation in Beijing to build the Myitsone Dam and six others dam in Kachin State. [12] One controversial construction project of a huge 1,055 megawatt hydroelectric power plant dam, the Myitsone Dam, is ongoing. [13] It is funded by China Power Investment Cooperation. When completed, the dam will measure 152 metres high and the electricity produced will be sold to China. This project displaced about 15,000 people and is one of 7 projects planned for the Irrawady River. [14]

Bhamo is one of the border trading points between China and Myanmar. [15]


Kachin State is served by the following airports:

There is a railroad between Myitkyina and Mandalay (through Sagaing). The train will takes 21–30 hours from Mandalay to Myitkyina. [16]


Educational opportunities in Myanmar are extremely limited outside the main cities of Yangon and Mandalay. It is especially a problem in Kachin State where over 60 years of fighting between the government and insurgents has displaced thousands of people. The following is a summary of the education system in the state. [17]

AY 2002-2003PrimaryMiddleHigh

Health care

The general state of health care in Myanmar is poor. The military government spends anywhere from 0.5% to 3% of the country's GDP on health care, consistently ranking among the lowest in the world. [18] [19] Although health care is nominally free, in reality, patients have to pay for medicine and treatment, even in public clinics and hospitals. Public hospitals lack many of the basic facilities and equipment. In general, the health care infrastructure outside of Yangon and Mandalay is extremely poor but is especially worse in remote areas like Kachin State. The following is a summary of the public health care system in the state. [20]

2002–2003# Hospitals# Beds
Specialist hospitals2125
General hospitals with specialist services2500
General hospitals17553
Health clinics22352

See also

Related Research Articles

Shan people

The Shan people, also known as the Dai or Tai Yai, are a Tai ethnic group of Southeast Asia. The Shan are the biggest minority of Burma (Myanmar) and primarily live in the Shan State of this country, but also inhabit parts of Mandalay Region, Kachin State, and Kayin State, and in adjacent regions of China, Laos, Assam and Thailand. Though no reliable census has been taken in Burma since 1935, the Shan are estimated to number 4–6 million, with CIA Factbook giving an estimate of five million spread throughout Myanmar which is about 10% of the overall Burmese population.

Jingpo people

The Jingpo people are an ethnic group who are the largest subset of the Kachin peoples, which largely inhabit the Kachin Hills in northern Myanmar's Kachin State and neighbouring Yunnan Province of China and Northeastern India's Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. While they mostly live in Myanmar, the Kachin are called the Jingpo in China and Singpho in India — the terms are considered synonymous. The greater name for all the Kachin peoples in their own Jingpho language is the Jinghpaw.

Shan State State of Myanmar

Shan State is a state of Myanmar. Shan State borders China (Yunnan) to the north, Laos to the east, and Thailand to the south, and five administrative divisions of Burma in the west. The largest of the 14 administrative divisions by land area, Shan State covers 155,800 km2, almost a quarter of the total area of Burma. The state gets its name from Burmese name for the Tai people: "Shan people". The Shan constitute the majority among several ethnic groups that inhabit the area. Shan is largely rural, with only three cities of significant size: Lashio, Kengtung, and the capital, Taunggyi. Taunggyi is 150.7 km northeast of the nation's capital Naypyitaw.

Administrative divisions of Myanmar

Myanmar is divided into twenty-one administrative subdivisions, which include states, regions, union territory, self-administered zones and self-administered division. Following is the table of government subdivisions and its organizational structure based on different states, regions, zones, division and the union territory:

Myitkyina City in Kachin State, Myanmar

Myitkyina is the capital city of Kachin State in Myanmar (Burma), located 1,480 kilometers (920 mi) from Yangon, and 785 kilometers (488 mi) from Mandalay. In Burmese it means "near the big river", and Myitkyina is on the west bank of the Ayeyarwady River, just below 40 kilometers (25 mi) from Myit-son of its two headstreams. It is the northernmost river port and railway terminus in Myanmar. The city is served by Myitkyina Airport.

Bhamo Place in Kachin State, Myanmar

Bhamo is a city in Kachin State in northern Myanmar, 186 km (116 mi) south of the state capital, (Myitkyina). It is on the Ayeyarwady River. It lies within 65 km (40 mi) of the border with Yunnan Province, China. The population consists of Chinese and Shan, with Kachin peoples in the hills around the town. It is the administrative center of Bhamo District and Bhamo Township.

Irrawaddy River River in Burma

The Irrawaddy or, officially, Ayeyarwady River is a river that flows from north to south through Burma. It is the country's largest river and most important commercial waterway. Originating from the confluence of the N'mai and Mali rivers, it flows relatively straight North-South before emptying through the Irrawaddy Delta in the Ayeyarwady Region into the Andaman Sea. Its drainage basin of about 404,200 square kilometres (156,100 sq mi) covers a large part of Burma. After Rudyard Kipling's poem, it is sometimes referred to as 'The Road to Mandalay'.

Kachin Hills

The Kachin Hills are a heavily forested group of highlands in the extreme northeastern area of the Kachin State of Burma. It consists of a series of ranges running mostly in a N/S direction, including the Kumon Bum subrange of which the highest peak is Bumhpa Bum with an elevation of 3,411 metres (11,191 ft) one of the ultra prominent peaks of Southeast Asia.

Panthays form a group of Chinese Muslims in Burma. Some people refer to Panthays as the oldest group of Chinese Muslims in Burma. However, because of intermixing and cultural diffusion the Panthays are not as distinct a group as they once were.

The Panglong Conference, held in February 1947, was a historic meeting that took place at Panglong in the Shan States in Burma between the Shan, Kachin and Chin ethnic minority leaders and Aung San, head of the interim Burmese government. Aung Zan Wai, Pe Khin, Bo Hmu Aung, Sir Maung Gyi, Dr. Sein Mya Maung and Myoma U Than Kywe were among the negotiators of the historical Panglong Conference negotiated with Bamar representative General Aung San and other ethnic leaders in 1947. All these leaders unanimously decided to join the Union of Burma. On the agenda was the united struggle for independence from Britain and the future of Burma after independence as a unified republic.

Panglong Agreement

The Panglong Agreement was reached in Panglong, Southern Shan State, between the Burmese government under Aung San and the Shan, Kachin, and Chin peoples on 12 February 1947. Aung Zan Wai, Pe Khin, Bo Hmu Aung, Sir Maung Gyi, Dr. Sein Mya Maung, Myoma U Than Kywe were among the negotiators of the historical Panglong Conference negotiated with Bamar leader General Aung San and other ethnic leaders in 1947. The agreement accepted "Full autonomy in internal administration for the Frontier Areas" in principle and envisioned the creation of a Kachin State by the Constituent Assembly. It continued the financial relations established between the Shan states and the Burmese federal government, and envisioned similar arrangements for the Kachin Hills and the Chin Hills.

Kachin Independence Army

The Kachin Independence Army is a non-state armed group and the military wing of the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), a political group of ethnic Kachins in Northern Myanmar. The Kachins are a coalition of six tribes whose homeland encompasses territory in Yunnan, China, Northeast India and Kachin State in Myanmar.

Kachin Independence Organisation

The Kachin Independence Organisation is a Kachin political organisation in Myanmar (Burma), established on 5 February 1961. It has an armed wing, the Kachin Independence Army, which operates in Kachin and Shan State.

Internal conflict in Myanmar Series of primarily ethnic-based insurgencies in Myanmar that began in 1948

The internal conflict in Myanmar is a series of insurgencies in Myanmar that began shortly after the country, then known as Burma, gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1948. The conflict has largely been ethnic-based, with several ethnic armed groups fighting Myanmar's armed forces, the Tatmadaw, for self-determination. Despite numerous ceasefires and the creation of autonomous self-administered zones in 2008, many groups continue to call for independence, increased autonomy, or the federalisation of the country. The conflict is also the world's longest ongoing civil war, having spanned more than seven decades.

Hpakant Town in Kachin State, Myanmar

Hpakant is a town in Hpakant Township, Kachin State of the northernmost part of Myanmar (Burma). It is located on the Uyu River 350 km north of Mandalay in the middle of one of the world's most inhospitable and malaria infested jungles, cut off for several months a year during the monsoons. It is famous for its jade mines which produce the world's best quality jadeite.

Lweje Place in Kachin State, Myanmar

Lweje is a town in Kachin State in north-eastern Burma near the border with Longchuan County, Yunnan Province, China. It is one of the 10 border trade points with 4 neighbouring countries opened in 2002 by the military regime.

Tai Laing, pronounced Tai Lai or regionally Tai Nai, is a Tai language of Burma, related to Khamti. It has its own script, and, though not taught in schools, is experiencing a cultural revival, albeit still small. There is no census of speakers, but they are estimated to number around 100,000.

Kachin conflict

The Kachin conflict or Kachin War is one of the multiple conflicts collectively referred to as the internal conflict in Myanmar. Kachin insurgents have been fighting government soldiers since 1961, with only one ceasefire being brokered between them, which lasted for 17 years from 1994 to 2011.

China and the Kachin State

This article pertains to modern economic, social, and political relations between the People's Republic of China, and the rebel-occupied Kachin State of northern Myanmar. Since the renewal of the Kachin Conflict in 2011, violence between the Kachin Independence Army and the Burmese military continues to prevent contact with lowland Burma; China has become the Kachin region's sole window to the outside world. Currently, the majority of activity between Kachin, and the neighboring Chinese province of Yunnan is made up of illicit trading and the illegal migration of refugees.

Myitkyina Manau

The Myitkyina Manau is a Manaw which takes place semi-annually in Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar, and is one of the largest Manau in the world. It is an event of importance for the Kachin community of Myitkyina and is currently held at the Kachin National Manau park, Shatapru, which has permanent shadung pillars installed in the centre.


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