Hidden People of Sino-Burmese Border
The interesting story for today is about the hidden people of Sino-Burmese border. As Burma is sharing 2,185 km border with China, unsurprisingly there are more than a dozen groups of ethnic minorities people living on both China and Burma territories and they are recognized minorities in both countries.
Here, I will use some pictures taken from http://www.chinatoday.com/.
Ethnic Achang (China), Maingtha (Myanmar)
Approximately 30,000 Achang inhabit an area along the Yunnan-Myanmar border near the Chinese town of Ruili. The Achang share the southern end of the Gaoligong Mountains with about a dozen other colorful ethnic groups. An additional 1,700 Achang live in Myanmar’s Shan State and Kachin state mainly in Waimaw and Japhwi townships, east of Ayeyarwaddy (Irrawaddy) River near Bhamo (locally known as Manmaw) on China border.
Ethnic Blang (China), Eng (Myanmar)
Approximately 80,000 Bulang live in southwest China. The Bulang villages in China are often located in extremely remote mountains, some three or four days’ walk from the nearest road. They are located in several counties in Yunnan Province, especially Menghai, Zhenkang, Shuangjiang, Lincang, Lancang and Mojiang counties. Eastern Shan State in Myanmar is home to about 14,000 Bulang, especially in the Mong Yang area and near the city of Kengtung.
Ethnic Dai (China), Tai/Shan (Myanmar)
The Tai or Shan consist of several distinct people groups that are primarily located in China, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand. In the Yunnan Province of southwestern China, they are called “Dai” and make up the fifth largest minority group with the population of 1.2 million and mainly live two prefectures designated for Dai People namely Xishaungbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture and Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture along the Sino-Myanmar border. In Myanmar, where they have a State of their own, they are called Shan or Tai Yai, mainly live in Shan State, Kachin State, Sagaing Region and Mandalay Region with a total population of 7 millions.
Ethnic Deang (China), Ta’ang/Palaung (Myanmar)
The various Palaung groups of Myanmar live in Shan State with their population about 700,000. Some are located in the northwestern corner around Tawngpeng, while others live as far south as Kengteng and Kalaw. It is thought that the Palaung immigrated to Myanmar before the Shan who came from China during the twelfth century. In China, their population is 17,935, and lives exclusively in Yunnan Province and primarily in Luxi and Zhenkang Counties.
Ethnic Derung (China) / Taron (Myanmar)
More than 16,000 members of the Derung nationality live in some of the most isolated terrain in all of China. Ninety percent of the Derung live in the extreme northwestern part of Yunnan Province, along the Dulong River basin in Gongshan County. The Derung region is “highly mountainous and rainfall is abundant. Virgin forests cover the mountain slopes, and wild animals abound.” Twenty-one Derung live in Zayu County, Tibet. In addition, the Derung are also found in northern Myanmar. In Myanmar, they are known as Taron and recognized as a official minority. Their population is declining to the point where they are in danger of disappearing entirely. They have been referred to as the “Asian pygmies”. They are allegedly descended from an ethnic group concentrated in China known as Derung who migrated to Burma from Tibet in the 1880s. Less than 10 members of pure Taron tribe live in the Himalayan foothills of northern most Kachin State of Myanamar. Their story in Burma is very sad. I will post their story in a separate post later.