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This article is about the geographical location. For the ethnic group, see Kokang people.
Location of the Kokang region (green) within Shan State (yellow).

Kokang (Burmese: ကိုးကန့်; Chinese: 果敢; pinyin: Guǒgǎn), formally the First Special Region, is a self-administered zone of Burma (Myanmar). It is located in the northern part of Shan State, with the Salween River to its west, and it shares a border with China's Yunnan Province in the east. Its total land area is around 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 sq mi).[1] The capital is Laukkai (Chinese: 老街; pinyin: Lǎojiē). Kokang is mostly populated by Kokang people, a Han Chinese group living in Burma. According to new Myanmar Constitution (2008), Kongyan Township and Laukkai Township aka Laukkaing Township are grouped together to form Kokang Self-Administered Zone and replace the 'First Special Region'. [2][3]

Historically, Kokang was Burma's feudal state (Chinese: 土司; pinyin: tǔsī) for Burmese Chinese. It was founded by the Yang clan, a Chinese military house that fled with the Ming loyalists from Nanjing to Yunnan Province in the mid-17th century and later migrated to the Shan State in eastern Burma. From the 1960s to 1989, the area was ruled by the Communist Party of Burma, and after the dissolution of that party in 1989 it became a special region of Burma.


The state was officially founded by Yang Shien-tsai (楊獻才/杨献才, Yáng Xiàncái); who began his reign in 1739 in and around Ta Shwe Htan, then called Xingdahu (興達戶/兴达户, Xīng Dáhù), and took the title "Chief of Xingdahu". He was succeeded on his death in 1758 by his son Yang Weixing (楊維興/杨维兴), later referred to as Chief of Kho Kan Shan (科干山, Kēgàn Shān).

He expanded his territory tenfold compared to that inherited from his predecessor. After his death in 1795, his son Yang You Gen (楊有根/杨有根, Yáng Yǒugēn) became the chief. He soon renamed the state as Kokang and titled himself Heng of Kokang.

In 1840, Yang Guohua (楊國華) was given the title "the Heriditable Magistrate of Guogan County (世襲果敢縣令)" by the Chinese Qing dynasty.

The Heng was succeeded after his death in 1874 by his younger brother Yang Guozheng (楊國正/杨国正), who ruled peacefully and began relations with Britain upon the annexation of Upper Burma. In 1916 he went blind, and abdicated in favour of his nephew Yang Chunrong (楊春榮/杨春荣, Yáng Chūnróng). The new ruler then took the Burmese title "Myosa" (lit. town eat, given to a prince). He died in 1927 and was succeeded by his son Colonel Sao Yang Wen Ping (楊文炳/杨文炳, Yáng Wénbǐng), Saopha of Kokang.

For the services of Kokang during World War II, it was recognised as separate from Shan State in August 1947 by the British, and the ruler took the title Saopha. He died in 1949 and was succeeded by his son Sao Edward Yang Kyein Tsai (楊振材/杨振材, Yáng Zhèncái) who was deposed by the Burmese in 1959. Before that it is part Hsenwi Saopha territory.[4][5]

After the collapse of the Communist Party of Burma in 1989, Kokang was assigned as the autonomous First Special Region of the northern Shan State of Burma.[6]

Peng Jiasheng ruled KoKang Special Region since 1989 except he was ousted temporarily by rival Yang Moliang in 1992. He regain his power in the same year with the help of juntas but he was ousted again by juntas and replaced with his deputy Bai Xuoqian in 2009. [7]

In 2003, a comprehensive ban on the cultivation of the opium poppy came into effect. Due to the attendant food shortage, among other things, 2003 also saw a large-scale outbreak of malaria in mountain villages with authorities reporting some 279 deaths. During this time the Chinese government sent mobile medical units and supplies to the region, with the United Nations World Food Program also sending disaster relief soon after.

In April 2005, the Japanese government (JICA: Japan International Cooperation Agency) launched a new project to rebuild the lives of farmers in these mountain areas.

In August 2009, Kokang was the site of a violent conflict, the Kokang incident, between junta forces and various ethnic armies.[8]


In 2000, the population was reported to be around 18,000.[citation needed] In 2003, it was reported to be approximately 140,000;[citation needed] in 2009, 150,000.[1] Of these, around 100,000 people held Burmese nationality, the remainder being from China. Of the Burmese nationality, 90% are ethnic Han Chinese, with others being Shan, Palaung, Hmong, Va, Lisaw, Bai and Burman. The large majority of ethnic Burmans are those dispatched to the region by the central government as military and administrative personnel and their families, primary school teachers, skilled workers, medical workers and other public service personnel. Because of the effective disappearance of the narcotics trade, many have lost their source of income and many local people have left the region.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Myanmar fighters cross into China". Al Jazeera News. 30 August 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2009. 
  2. ^ "Myanmar Constitution-Chapter 2 | Amnesty International USA". Amnestyusa.org. Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  3. ^ http://www.kokang.net/html/guogangaikuang/2008/1214/6.html
  4. ^ Kokang, the Yang Dynasty [1]
  5. ^ "The Secession of Kokang — Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.)". Shanland.org. Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  6. ^ Kokang Brief History
  7. ^ "Minister Without Borders says he’s one-quarter Shan". English.panglong.org. 2012-05-28. Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  8. ^ Auswärtiges Amt Myanmar Innenpolitik [2]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 23°42′N 98°45′E / 23.700°N 98.750°E / 23.700; 98.750