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The Kokang Knot.

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According to the instructions of Chairman Mao Zedong in 1963, the Institute of World Economy of the Chinese Academy of Science was formally established on May 19, 1964.

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Can China Untangle the Kokang Knot in Myanmar? 20/05/2015






Kokang, a 2,000 square kilometer territory near the Chinese border, has a population of around 150,000 people, 90 % of whom are ethnic Chinese. Although those in Kokang account for only 7 % of the ethnic Chinese population in Myanmar, they are unique among Chinese groups in the country, as they were defined as an ethnic minority by British India.

The Kokang area is known for cross-border settlements of ethnic minorities, including Kokang Chinese, Kachin, Shan, Wa and Ta’ang, among others.

Expectations of a high level of autonomy on the part of these ethnic groups date back to the signing of the Panglong Agreement in February of 1947. After the July 1947 assassination of General Aung San, who signed the Agreement on the behalf of the Myanmar government, it was never actually implemented, thus becoming the root cause of the armed conflicts we witness today.

Kokang was first ceded to British India by China in an agreement signed in 1897. After its independence in 1948, Kokang became an ethnic autonomous area of Myanmar.

The China-Myanmar Border Agreement of January 1960 clarified sovereignty over several contested areas, but Kokang was not included in this agreement.

Besides conflicts between the central government and local armed groups, which is a problem throughout northern Myanmar, Kokang also has seen conflict between different factions of ethnic Chinese groups.

From 1989 to 2009, the primary faction was MNDAA leader Peng Jiasheng and his family. The last round of this conflict resulted in the withdrawal of Peng from the Kokang area for several years.

After the “August 8 incident” of 2009, Bai Suocheng replaced Peng as the leader of the Kokang, and the Kogang started to enjoy stability and economic development: By 2012, sugarcane had become the second largest industry in Kokang, next to gambling.