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Shan State – Fear and Celebration

Many Friends of Radchada Cafe come from the Shan State is SE Burma, and we know many of our readers have Tai Yai friends in Chiang Mai so we like to keep up to date with the latest Shan State news.

May 21st saw the celebration of the 53nd Anniversary of Shan State People’s Resistance Day. This was held in the Shan State Army’s mountain stronghold of Loi Taileng; across the border from Thailand’s Mae Hong Song district. The celebrations included military parades and displays by the Shan State Army and speeches by ethnic and military leaders from the various groups in the Shan State.

Shan State Army soldiers on parade in Loi Taileng
Parade of SSA soldiers at Loi Taileng

For full details see these articles at and this article from the irrawaddy entitled the Shan Sniper which is an interview with a Capt Sai Leng after the celebrations when he recounts some of his experiences fighting with the SSA against the Tatmadaw – Burmese government forces. Click here for more pictures from Loi Taileng.

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator John McCain visited Thailand en-route to Burma for talks with the new government and Aung San Suu Kyi. This was the highest level contact between the U.S. for many years. At the end of his his official three-day visit to Burma, McCain called for ‘concrete actions’ and not just ‘warm words’. McCain met with Vice President Thiha Thura Tin Aung Myint Oo, Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin, Union Assembly Speaker Aung Khin Myint, People’s Assembly Speaker Thura Shwe Mann and ethnic MPs. State-run newspapers said that they exchanged views on promotion of bilateral ties and cooperation between the two countries. McCain warned that Myanmar could face a Middle East-style revolution if the new army-backed government fails to implement democratic reform and improve human rights He also visited the NLD HIV/AIDS Salvation Centre in Rangoon.

Before travelling to Burma Senator McCain visited a refugee camp in Mae Sot, Thailand and visited the Mae Tao Clinic, run by Dr. Cynthia Maung and met with staff. During his visit he stated the clinic, “needs some extra funding both from governments and some charitable organisations“.

Senator John McCain meets staff in Mae Sot
Senator McCain in Mae Sot

But, fear has returned to the Shan State after the recent breaking of a 15-year ceasefire between the Burmese government and SSA-North fighting has broken out. Under the ceasefire with Burmese government, SSA-North was aiming to solve the problems by political means. However, On 21 May 2011, SSA-South and SSA-North, at their 53rd anniversary celebration in Loi Taileng, declared that they have re-united to fight against the Burmese military. The Shan State Army, known as SSA, has been fighting against the government in Napiytaw for autonomy for more than fifty years.

Forced labour and killing of civilians by militias and gangs continues un-abated in Burma, this latest story is just a typical example of atrocities in the Shan Sate.

Body of murdered Tai Yai civilian in Burma
Victim of miltia attrocities in Central Shan State (

Despite the efforts of the international community, atrocities and fear continue within the Shan State and, in their latest act of war the Burma Army attackers are allegedly using chemical weapons. On 3 June 2011 the Shan State Army’s strategic base in Tangyan township was attacked using chemical weapons, which on explosion, cause dizziness and nausea, according to the defenders. Burma Democratic Concern (BDC) has called on the government not to use chemical weapons. For more details check out the Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N)

Misery still continues for those in the eastern Shan state effected by the March 24 Earthquake. According to reports on S.H.A.N. Two months after the quake, many communities are still facing serious problems due to the damage to their homes. Many thanks to those who supported the Best Friend Library’s fund raising campaign which has already achieved it’s initial goals but you can still donate here

Shan State Earthquake Relief Project

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