|Shan meeting opts for
A one-day "conference" organized by the Shan State Army
"South" to sound out the aspirations of selected Shans
concluded yesterday (12 August) with a unanimous feedback that the
people's choice was a federation of 8 equal states, including a
"The survey sheet asked us to choose between the present Burma
military-dominated union and an 8-state arrangement," said
a participant who returned from the Shan army base, opposite Chiangmai's
Fang district this morning. "It wasn't hard for us to take
The meeting, titled The Future of Shan State Politics, was attended
by 58 resistance members and individuals.
The main speakers were Khurhsen Heng-awn, spokeswoman for the SSA's
political wing, Restoration Council of Shan State, and Pu Loi Kawngmu,
a sympathizer from Australia.
Khurhsen read out the RCSS's basic policies while Puloi presented
a paper styled Struggles for Freedom and Democracy: Shan perspective,
according to a participant from the SSA.
"Shan simplicity and their unwavering loyalty to the Federal
Union have been abused for so long," he said. "It's time
Shan learn to break this vicious circle through radical departure
from the conventional wisdom."
The SSA's answer to the Shan State situation was to establish a
single party unity, a contrast to a united front of different parties
as advocated by other Shan State groups. "Only by having a
one party system can strategies be planned and implemented,"
an SSA source quoted Col Yawdserk, who chairs the RCSS, as saying.
He is also reported to favor a "multi-armed force system."
The RCSS's predecessor, the SSRC (Shan State Restoration Council),
in contrast, had espoused "a multi-party, single armed force
Participants interviewed by S.H.A.N. had also voiced some complaints:
"The participants were hand-picked including myself,"
said one, who was nevertheless a supporter. "We only learned
there was an agenda at all when we got to the meeting place,"
The Shan State Army "South" is the strongest remaining
resistance group in Shan State. It is allied to Wa National Army,
Lahu Democratic Front, Pa-O People Liberation Organization and Palaung
State Liberation Front on the State side, and allied to Karen National
Union, Karenni National Progress Party, Arakan Liberation Party
and Chin National Front on the inter-state side.