Panglong

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Panglong (Burmese: ပင်လုံ) can refer to one of three towns in Shan State. Of them, the most well known one is Panglong, where the Panglong Conference took place. Second, Panglong in the Wa regions near the China border is a town founded by Chinese Muslim settlers in the trans-Salween Wa States. Third, Panglong in northern Shan State, a ruby mining town.

Panglong, located in southern Shan State, Myanmar (formerly Burma), was host to the Panglong Conference. Since 1957, Panglong serves as the Headquarters of the Shan monastic education under the administration of the Shan State Sangha Council, with its main base at Wat Pitakat. The Shan State Sangha Councial is also responsible for the project of translating the Buddhist canonical texts, tipitaka, into Shan language. The project was originally founded and sponsored by Sao Shwe Thaike, the Saopha (ruling prince) of Yawnghwe State and the first president of the Union of Burma (now Myanmar). The town is also home to Panglong University.

The following piece of work is about Panglong in the Wa regions in Northeast Shan State.

It stands at a height of four thousand six hundred feet above sea level, in a hollow surrounded by abrupt low hills, or rather cliffs, with a singularly jagged outline. The number of houses has been steadily increasing, but they have not been counted and estimates vary greatly. These are, however, certainly over three hundred. They are built of a kind of trellis or wattle, covered with mud and sometimes white-washed, and have thatch roofs. Each house stands with its own little fenced enclosure with a garden of peach and pear trees. These is a sort of horsepond in the village, but the water is undrinkable and the supply of good water is unsatisfactory. It is brought down in little runnels from the western hills. Many of the slopes round the village are jungle covered, but in some places they are cleared for poppy cultivation. All the roads to Pang Long pass through two small defiles, one north and the other south of the village. At both north and south entrances there the other south of the village. At both north and south entrances there are recently built gateways constructed of sun-dried bricks, with loop holes and a thatched roof.

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In addition to the main settlement of Panglong, two other smaller Panthay villages, Panyao and Pachang, were established about 12 miles distant to the south and east respectively, 'which had about eighty houses'. The dominant group in the villages were the Panthay, chiefly Hui migrants from Dali, Baoshan, Shanning, Menghua and elsewhere in southern and western Yunnan. James George Scott comments that these Chinese Muslims were 'all merchants, mule-owners and men of substance'; indeed, considering this wealth Scott concluded that it was only the military prowess and superior armaments of the Panthay which kept their annual tribute to the ruler of Son Mu fixed at the low figure of 100 rupees per annum. The same source continues:

Many of the prominent traders in Pang Long have made the Haj to Mecca and Medina, and there is a mosque near the pond in the town. To supervise this they engaged a Moulvi in 1892, Fakir Syed Mahomed… Trade is the chief occupation of the settlement, and provisions of all kinds are scarce and dear. All round stretches a sort of small plateau cleared of trees except in clumps, which give it a park-like appearance, but the great scarcity of water prevents much cultivation and what there is only of dry crops. Some Chinese shoes and skull caps are turned out, but otherwise there are no manufactures. The place owns quite a thousand pack mules and could probably assemble another thousand in a short time. They have also a few pack bullocks, used locally for short trips.

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By the time Scott visited Panglong – at least 15 years after the collapse of the Yunnan Muslim Rebellion – the original Panthay settlements had grown to include numbers of Shan and other hill peoples. The Panthay were, generally speaking, affluent enough to employ these more recent settlers as mule-drivers and 'to do the drudgery generally'. In large measure this affluence must have been due the lifting of the Qing proscription on Hui settlement in Yunnan (c. 1888-1890), as a result of which the Panglong "Panthays" were able to re-establish trading contacts with their fellows remaining settled within Yunnan. As a result of this development, a number of the original refugees returned to China, merely maintaining agents at Panglong; certainly Scott noted that as many of the Panthay caravan traded into China as throughout the Shan States from Panglong.