Executive members of the Provisional Shan State Congress, formed December 2008, on Friday, 25 June, reached agreement that future Shan State, made up of 10 major ethnic groups, should be established on a federal system.
Shan State is not new to federalism. From 1922 to 1948, under British suzereignty, it was a federation of 33 princely states: 21 Shan, 7 Danu, 2 PaO, 1 Kayan,1 Palaung and 1 Wa. Agreement to set up a separate state for Kokang State was reached in 1948.
Co-founders of the Provisional Shan State Congress: Lahu Democratic Union (LDU), PaO National Liberation Organization (PNLO), Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and Wa National Organization (WNO) have been striving to formulate a set of principles that will appeal to the multi-ethnic peoples of Shan State since the founding under the leadership of Kya Bolong, 77, President of the Lahu Democratic Union (LDU), a native of Kengtung.
The guiding principles agreed without dissension by the Congress EC yesterday were:
- To implement the terms of the 1947 Panglong Agreement
- To practice mutual respect, mutual recognition and multi-party system among Shan State’s ethnic peoples and movements
- To establish unity on equal footing by all and resolution of all problems by peaceful means
- To establish Shan State on the federal system
- To abolish the ruling military dictatorship
The EC is still going over the rest of the draft constitution of the Shan State Congress which includes federalism with other ethnic states including Burman State (s). “It will be presented to all the Shan State organizations,” said Kya Bo Long. “We hope to adopt it at the next annual meeting (January 2011).”
Other participants at the meeting included Col Hkun Okker, President of the PNLO and legal advisor to the Congress; Maj Lao Hseng, Joint Secretary and Spokesperson of the RCSS; and Ta Ai Nyunt, Secretary of the WNO, among others.
The former Federated Shan States had enjoyed political and financial autonomy from Burma Proper then known as Ministerial Burma.