Created: 4/1/1970

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Intelligence Report

Highland Peoples of Southeast Asia's Borderlands With China: Their Potential for Subversive Insurgency











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The Setting



The Meo


The Karen

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The Lahu

Summary and



Northern Laos: Meo 6

Northern Thailand: Selected Ethnic Croups 9

Burma: Selected Ethnic Croups17

Mainland Southeast Asia: Ethnolinguistic Croups32

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE ACENCY Directorate of Intelligence0




This report discusses the highland peoples of northern Southeast Asia and assesses their potential in expanding or countering Cornrnunist-sporuored.insurgency against the free governments of the region. Main attention is given to the highland peoples in Thailand and Burma; the treatment of their counterparts in Laos consists primaiily of some observations concerning the experience gained there by Meo tribesmen, who have been Involved1 in guerrilla activities against the Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese. The report does cotiscussion of the highland peoples of North Vietnam, which isommunistompanion report,eals widi lujhland peoples in South Asia.

Note: Thi*was produced by CIA. ll was prepared by ihe Office of Basle andand eootdinstcd with die Offkei of Current Intelligence and National Estimate!.


A disarray ol densely forested, north-south-trending mountains, withvalleys, often goiges carved by great rivers, separates the cultural realm of the Chinese from those found on the lowlands of Southeast Asia. Extending from the eastern Tibetan highlands, these mountains comprise the northern regions of the Southeast Asian countries from Burma on the west to North Vietnam on the east. Rugged andelevations0 feet above sea level in northernhave rtisloricallyeterrent to the southward extension of Chinese influence Nevertheless, the Chinese at one time subdued tbe Tonkin Delia area and some of the coastal lowland of present-day Northerritory that they subsequently occupiedhousand years

This highland frontier zone has longefuge for minority peoples seeking to escape the pressures exerted by the Chinese In their historic southward expansion from the lowlands adjacent to the Yangtze Hlver. Many ol these minority peoples retreated from Chinaore or less continuous drift down the valleys of the great south-flowing rivers. Other migrations were moresuch, for example, was the sudden exodus of the Shanollowing the destruction of their capital. Tali, by the Mongol armies of Kublai Khan. The migrations have continued into modemof Meos began entering Southeast Asia in the 1in recent years there hasontinuing trickle of migrants into northern Southeast Asia because of Chinese oppression.

onsequence of these centuries-long migrations, diverse minorities, numbering in the millions, arc now scattered throughout the highlands of southern China and northern Southeast Asia, generally with Lltle regard lo; international boundaries. Members of the same tribal groups are commonly found in both China and Southeast Asia. For example, there are thousands of Meo In North Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand, and more than 2Vi million Meo in China.have classified these minorities in broad ethnolinguistic groupings which in turn are fragmentedomplex of secondary classifications (see Map

outheast Asian governments, whose leaders generally come from lowland areas and reflect the views of lowland people, have traditionally neglected these highland tribal groups. Instead, they have focused their attention and efforts on their people in the great coastal deltas, the "rice bowls" of Asia, where the politicooconomsc centers and the capital cities are located. In consequence of these shortsighted policies, little effort was made, prior to the last decade, to improve living conditions of the hill tribes or to integrate tribesmen into the political .economic fabric of the various Southeast Asian nations. On the contrary, the actions of minor officials, who commonly resented being sent to ilicthe attempts of the Government to collect taxes and preserve forests, as well as the depreciating attitudes displayed by most lowlanders, often tended


to alienate ihe tribesmen. Thus. In effect, official governmental policlei in Southeast Asia haveertile field for Co-miliums' subversive

n contrast, duringhe Chines* Communists tool: an active interest in the minorities of their country, where nationalistic aspirations were contained by the creation of "autonomous" administrative units. Four such regions were creatednd although this administrative concept actually involved self-administration rather than self-determination, it afforded at least symbolic indulgence of minority cultures and was far more effective than the negative or nonexistent minority policies typical of the Southeast Asian countries.

6 The late French author, Bernard Fall, once observed that 'revolutionary warfare cannot be left ro happy improvisation anymore than nuclearith apparent recognition ol this truth, the Chinese Communists began to prepare for Ihe present insurgencies in Thailand and Burma. According to reliable sources, their propaganda and indoctrination programs among the hill tribes were begun in. Potential insurgent leaders were sent to China for training at that time, andonsequence the Chinese now have significant personnel assets in Thailand.

Duringhe Chinese alioumber of road construction projects near the borders of their southwestern frontier provinces. Several new roads in Kwangsi and Yunnan provinces were extended to the Indochina border at that time, thus fadlitating the logistical support of the Viet Minh in their fight against the French. Significantly,S the Chinese extended theroad to Muong Sai. Laos, and they aro now lengthening it to Muong Houn, from which it may eventually reach Pakettlement on the Mekong River close to (he area of insurgency in Thailand.

In the section of this report dealing with Thailand, major emphasis is placed on the Meo. who are currently engaged in Communist supported insurgency against the Central Covemment. The Lahu and the Karen, who also occupy upland tracts in tbe north and west, have been the targets of Communistfor the past decade or so. Even though neither is currently participating in active insurgency against die Covemment, both appear toefinite potential to do so. In the discussion of insurgency in Burma, the report focuses on the Kachin andethnic groups in the north and northeast frontier lands. Chinese Communist-supported Kaehin and Shan insurgents have engaged the Burmese Armyumber of bloody battles in recent years. The Wa and the Lahu. who occupy the rugged uplands of northeastern Burma, have also been the targets of Chinese Communist propaganda and aid, and they have provided men for some Shan-!cd insurgent forces.


he OBBmaUoml troops of ibe Pathet Uo and the Korth Vi-rtrvarncsc are mainly responsible fee Communist military action in Laos. Hill tribal peoples have been little used as guerrillas by the Communists. Furthermore, there is no recent information on the Meo Resistance League, formed by the Communist Meo leader, Phay Dang,ribesmen within Communist-controlled areas in Laos, including those in the two Meo battalions that existed in thes, apparently have been integrated into the regular Communist forces.

arious tribes, however, have been used by the Laotian Government in the guerrilla program initiated0 and expanded when Communist military actions threatened Laoshe Meo have been principally involved in this effort (seeor their location inut other tribes, particularly the Yao, also have been armed and encouraged to resist Communist

The Meo in Laos are citizens according to the Laotian constitution.the Laotian Government, lite the others of Southeast Asia, has generally neglected them. The Meo. therefore, have had little reason to involve themselvesar for "nationalheir loyalty is to family and village, notistant and ostensibly disinterested Central Government in Vientiane. Government-supplied arms, when accepted by the average Meo, are taken for one fundamentalprotect his home and family from Communist attack.

In contrast to the negligence of the Royal Lao Government, the Communist Pathet Lao consciously incorporates minority interests into their laws, and they have continued to emphasize appeals to tribal groups. As one of his first acts as president of North Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh created the Thai-Meo Autonomous Zone for the tribes in that country; this zoneommon boundary with some of the highland provinces of Laos svhere the Meo live, and the appeal ofwas not lost on the Meo of Laos.

All highland tribes in Southeast Asia, Including the Meo, have adegree ofeflection, in part, of dependencelash-and-burn type of agriculture. When there is no more suitable forested landiven locality that can be cut and burned in preparation for planting crops, the tribe must moveew location. In addition, they travel extensively in their hunting and trading activities In Laos, however, because of the armed conflict, normal mobility has been limited in consequence of tho desire of the Meo to be near home. It has been only when his family has been relocatedecure area that he has been willing lo volunteer for service in aggressive combat forces such as the Special Cucrrilla Units (SCUs).

Laotian Government was fortunate in having an outstandingVang Pao. around whom the tnbes could rally. His authorityenhanced by an official policy, wherein he alone furnished the Meo


arms and supplies at critical times in the armed conflict. It was because of Ceneral Vang Pao's charisma, along with the controlled flow of American supplies, that many Meo Tribesmen were ccnveileduerrilla force.

ne of Vang pao's principal tasks was the developmentpirit ofand cooperation among the Meo The Meo village, usually aufeople, typically is locatedigh mountain ridge line, and it is generally separated from other villages by precipitous valleys and steep-sloped mountains In the past the Meo have not been unduly concerned with events outside ilieir immediate village For example, ever, when Communist forces attacked Meo settlements in other areas, including some that were not too distant, other Meo generally have stood idly by because they were not themselvesthreatened. While Vang Pno has been successful inoliesivo, efficient Meo fighting force, probably even he could never expect the Meo to follow him blindly.

he use of terror by Communists against tribal settlements often has caused villagers to decide to join the pro-Laotian Meo forces. Pro-Government sentiment has been promoted oho by the unlilled promises of the Communists and by the attempts in Communist-controlled areas to regiment tribesmen who are prone to individualism. In effect, the actions of the Communists have often served to induce the Meo to join the forces of the Laotian Government.

ey element in theoi the Meo guerrilla program. Using light pbnes (including licli-corners) and such cargo craft as6 and. the Government is able to react quickly and support the Meo despite veiy difficult terrain Light planes, often STOLS (short take-off and landingnd helicopters permit Meo leaden and support officers to frequently travel to and between mountainous redoubts. Almost daily these planes deliver medical supplies and other high priority items. Cargo aircraft are used chiefly to drop supplies into designated rones

erial supply is expensive, and it can be dangerous, particularly during periods of heavy monsoonal weather. In aieas of difficult terrain, however, or when the intervening territory between support bases and outposts make the risks of interdiction unacceptable, aerial supply is of vital importance In such circumstances it has been entical to the survival of Vang Pao's guerrilla forces


The lull tribes of Thailand, numberingn an estimated total population ofre distributed chiefly in the mountains of the north, in the western mountains (hat form the border with Burma, and in thespur that extends southward through the mprovinoe area of Loei, Phil-sanulok and Phetchabun (see) As in otherian countries, these tribes aie diverse and do notnified force.

Some tribes in northern Thailand ore currently involved in active, organized insurgency. The Communisl Party of Thailand (CPT) furnishes this insurgency with much of its leadership, which is derived mainly from the lowland Thai and the Sino-Thai. There is little doubt, however, that Communist China shapes the ideological and strategic views of the insurgents, that it trains senior leaders, and that ic provides the movement wirh limited material assistance North Vietnam is involved principally in the training of middle- and lower-level cadre

The principal tribe involved in the insurgency at present is the Meo. Also participating, butesser degree, are the Yao, Tinnd Khmuhould the Communists wish to extend the area of insurgency, they might also attempt to subvert die Lahu and Karen, both of whom appear to have paramilitary potential. Subversion of the Lahu would permit the extension of Communist influence westward. Subversion of the Karen, if successful, would give the Communists control of most of the Thai-Surma border area, and put (hemosition flanking the Thai lowland all the way from its northern limits to an area south of Bangkok.

5 the Central Covcmment paid little attention to the tribal peoples. Contacts with them were rare because of the remoteness of their mountainous setdemenfs and because local authorities assigned almost exclusive priority to the administration of the more populous lowlands. With the initiation of the Border Patrol Police (BPP) programowever, the Covemmcntinvolved itself in tribal affairs. The BPP were instructed to provide "control and public safety in the remote hills and frontiernd as part of their work, they carriedivic action program that included the building of schools and the distribution of medical and agricultural equipment.

Government-tribal relations became stiained, however, following theban on the production of opiumn an attempt to improve relations, the Government9 established "settlement areas"hich later became training centers where tribesmen learned new agricultural techniques; most of these centers are no longer functioning More recently,esultocio-cconornicribal Research Center was established at Chiang Mai by the Hill Tribes Welfare Division of the Public WelfareThis center servesermanent advisory institution to the Government.

Confronted with active tribal insurgency beginningulti-faceted program to contain it In this program, it sought


to better its presence among the tribes by improving tribal living conditions and by providing them security. Friendly tribal peoples were moved Irom areas ol insurgency into refugee camps in the provinces of Chiang Mai. Nan, Phitsanulok, Phetchabun, and Tat. where0 tribesmen, mostly Meo and Yao, are presently located. The program, however, has been handicapped by its belated inception, by the ineffectiveness of official personnel in remote areas, and by the increasing Communist control of the hill tribe population.

The Meo

The Meo of Thailand have their origins in southern China, whereCO Meo still reside. Early inh century theyarge-scale migration into Southeast Asia. Presently they number0 in Thailand, aboutercent of the total hill tribe population (there arceo in Laos andn North Vietnam).

The Meo of northern Thailand are located ineneral areas (seeome of which are ideally situated for continued insurgency. In several cases, significant concentrations of Meo are located withiniles of changwat (province) capitals; Chiang Rai is an example. One Meo concentration inis withiniles of Pal: Bcng, Laos, possibly the Mekong River terminus of the road the Chinese Communists are extending down the Nam Beng Valley.

Areas of active insurgency in which tbe Meos are involvedan and Chiang Rai provinces in the extremehe triprovincclunction of Loci. Phitsanulok, and Phetchabun provinces;ak Province on Thailand's western border. In these areas there are annsurgents, not all of whom are Meo.

The paramilitary capability of the pro-Communist Meo has been levealed in action against Thai Government forces. They have successfully harassedpatrols and Government positions, ambushed Government vehicles, repelled attacking Government forces, damaged supporting Covemment aircraft, and interrupted construction of an important road in Tak Province. By these tactics, as well as by the judicious application of terror, they have been able to gain control of large areas along the Lao border in Nan and Chiang Rai provinces.

The Meo have always traveled extensively throughout northern Thailand. They may make hunting or trading trips of several days duration, and it is not uncommon for them to visit lowland towns to trade. Additionally, their slash-.md-bum-type agriculture, as well as their preoccupation with opium cultivation, necessitates rather frequent moves.

Meo insurgents travel long distances in order to train. Many have crossed the Mekong River to centers operated by the North Vietnamese in COmmunlst-cuntrolled areas of Laos and. reportedly, some have also gone to China.of this mobility the Meo have been very effective in gucnilla-type actions against Covemment forces, and the pattern and timing of some of their

on the other hand, claim lhat the loss of forcitland has lowered the water table, which may decrease their rice harvest.

The Meo also resent specific acts of injustice that they have suffered at the hands of Thai officials over the years. They claim, and with some reason, that Thai police sometimes arrest tribal people for little or no cause. Furthennore, the Government's initial repressive reaction to insurgent activity in thewhich resulted in "overkill" airstrikes against Meo villages and the forced relocationribal refugees to unprepared camp sites where food, water, and medical facilities werethe tribes and handed thean excellent propaganda issue. The relocation of tribal people is now principally at their ownew policy that is due. in part, to the high maintenance costs of the camps. Hence, the Government now encourages tribal people to stay in their own villages rather than to flee when Communist insurgents arc in the area.

The Meo, like other hill tribes in Thailand, have not been absorbed into Ihe "national fabric" of the country, and aie not even citizens. Consequently, they have little, if any, allegiance to the Thai Covemment, reserving their loyalty for family and village. Furthermore, unlike Laos, there is no well-known tribal leader in Thailand to unite and persuade them that it might be in their interest to fight for rather than against the Covemment.

Communist success in subverting the Meo isesult of the long, though quiet, exploitation of anti-Government tribal grievances. When this is not sufficient, terror tactics are used against those who have been nonrecepcive. Communist propaganda generally centers on the "oppressiveness" of ThaiUnpopular policies, such as those that prohibit the cultivation and sale of opium or "inflict" Government taxes, are exploited, while at the same time insurgentsbrightribesmen arc promised that they will be able to grow and sell opium, that taxes will not be necessary, and that they will

identify themselves and the insurgency with tribal aspirations.

implicit and explicit, are invariably used by insurgents duringwith tribesmen. At these meetings they boast of their strength andthe inevitability of insurgent victory. One villager, for example, reportswas told that "big forces" would reinforce the insurgents and enabletake over Nan Province, and that tlie Communist-buil" road from ChinaBeng, Laos, would be used eventually for the transport of suppliesthe insurgents.

The Lahu

(Sec also discussion of the Lahu of Burma,f this report.)

Lahu in Thailand numberaving immigratedand Laos during die lastears, most of them arc scattered acrossnorthern part of the country. Some, however, arc located west and north-


west of the town of Tak (seeahu village* arc usually located in temole mountainous urn. occupying sites that aieeet in elevation. Typically, villages arc cstabuslied on flat ridge tops just below the summits of high ranges

Although theyt known to have ever engaged in guerrilla warfare in Thailand, historically the Lahu have had such experience elsewhere. They clashed many times with the Chinese in Yunnan during the latter half ofh century, and in Burma, they fought ai guerrillas against the Japanese during World War II. In theeports told of entire Lahu villages being moved from Thailand to Burma, where the Thai Lahu were recruited by the Burmese Covemmcnt to fight the dissident Shan. Thus the guerrilla potential of the Lahu is impressive. With leadership and training, they could probably be developedormidable paramilitary force.

The Lahu have been characterized as the most agile mountain climbers and the greatest hunters of all tbe tribesmen in Southeast Asia. In recognition of their bunting ability the Thai call themhan word meaninghe following translationahu tribal chant indicates thethey attach to their hunting/fighting pursuits:

"So seek you always the high ground. Stay you always on the long ringers

of the ridgelands. For over all valleys they spread, And swoop you like eagles upon baby chicks, Swoop down quickly and return to your

high perch. Stay not on the lowland where the

leopard lurks, Quickly swoop and return upon the

high perch."

ike many other hilt tribes, the Lahu exhibit great mobility. Frequent and long hunting trips take them into some of the most densely forested and rugged areas of northern Thailand. Furthermore, because of their slash-and-bumthey are accustomed to moving frequently. There is little doubt that they would be at least as mobile as the Meo in attacks against Thai Covemmcnt troops.

ecause of the remoteness of Lahu villages and the rugged=ess of the terrain that they occupy, Communist logistical support would be difficult. Some Lahu, for example those who are in the eastern part of northern Thailand, possibly could be supplied from Communist bases In Laos. Those farther west, however, would probably be dependent upon supplies smuggled through eastern Burma from China. Tbe local acquisition of guns, by ambush of Thai police and soldiers

0 2_

.indrough illicit trading channels, conceivably could also become an important source of arms.

ommunist subversion of the Lahu, il successful, would permit theof Communist bases in several areas across the extreme northern part of the country. From these mountain bases the insurgents could then move along the north-south ridge lines and descend to attack targets in the lowlands. Probably (hey would hope to eventually duplicate the success they have had in Naois, deny die Government access to the region.

ost of the comments previously made about Meo attitudes and loyalties apply also to the Lahu. who apparently have been exposed to Communist propa-gandj for at least the past decade. Intelligence reports of unknown validity, dating from thento, indicate that Communist agents htiva used the Red Lahu religious Man Cod (Maw Na or Pu Chawngho lives hi Ilurina, to disseminate anti-Thai Government propaganda in some ofhu villti|;oi of northwest Thailand. Although the Lahu purposely have little to do with the Meo in everyday life, they would probably cooperate with the Litter in guerrilla activities if given effective Communist leadership.

The Karen

he Karen are the most numerous of Thailand's hill tnbes. Numbering. they hate been emigrating from eastern Burma to Thailand for many years- Most of them liveighland region that extends from thepart of the country southward along the Burma border toK Karen arc also distributed along an axis tha: extendi across North Thailand from the extreme northeast to tho southwest (seeheir villagesoccupy sites on sloping foothills at elevationseet, somehowever, are located in the valleys.

The Karen in Thailand, especially those in the highlands, usually arein the use of blowguns, bows, and spears, and some of them also possess modem rifles. Although the Karen in Thailand have had no recent military training oi experience, those in Burma have been in an armed insurgencyhe Karen on both sides of the border have distinct paramilitary potential, but these in Thailand would need training, leadership, and motivation, into arms

Karen generally migrate in responseeed for new agricultural land, and their movements arc usually localizedsquare-mile area Presumably they become thoroughly familiar with the terrain in such ana definite inset in guerrilla warfare. Some of the more mobile Karen, however, Owfl ck-phaiiti, and they hire them out to transport heavy commodities, such as logs, over relatively long distances.

The custom of matrilocal mairiage probably involves the Karen in their longest range of travel. Karen women regularly get their husbands from other Kami villages. In one known instance, the husband came

miles away from the brides residence. This practice probably results in some degree of unity among Karen villages, which could conceivably aid the spread ol propaganda from one village to another.

Most of the Karen of Thailand are very remote from the Communistbases in Laos; only the few in northern Chiang Rai Province are within practical range to expect Communis! help from that source. The majority, along the Burma border, would have to depend upon much the same sources as the Lahu for their guns and ammunition. Most weapons would probablyesult of successful attacks on government forces or installations. An appreciable number could also be bought through illicit trading channels.

Successful subversion of the Karen would give the Communists control of most of the Thai-Burma border area. Most important, it would permit the insurgents to make flanking attacks from the west against the north-south length of the central lowland.

The Karen of the lowlands appear to be generally satisfied with the Thai Government; in the highlands, however, many of them have had only limited contact with the Covemmcnt, and they often distrust visiting Thai officials. They particularly resent the Thai for their preconceived notions about the way the Karen should conform to Thai customs. Furthermore, in their view the Thai make no attempt to understand or appreciate Karen tribal culture. In Tak Province some Karen reportedly joined with Meo insurgents in9 because "of resentment to Covemment interference in their opium trade and in their cattle smuggling operations. If the Communists were totrong insurgent Meo leader in the Tak area, Karen with serious grievances against the Thai Covemmcnt would probably cooperate with him.

The primary loyalty of all Karen, educated or uneducated, however, is to their village. Those who are educated probably have some degree ofto the nation, but the vast majority are indifferent to it. Missionaries who have worked with the Karen have expressed the opinion that if Communist indoctrinated Karenaren village and told the tribesmen that they understood their problems and would provide them with assistance the villagers could be subverted.



he predominant ethnic groupurma's central lowland, account for nearly three-fourths of the0 people. Indigenous ethnicShan, Karen, Chin,umber of smallercomprise most of the remainder; they arc settled in relatively remote and lightly populated upland territories, in locations that arc peripheral to the area of Burman concentration (see. Because of strong culturaland ethnic pride, the integration cf these minorities into contemporary Burmese society has been slow. Burman-minority relations have been marked by mutual antagonism and suspicion, and insurgency by minorities desiring greater political autonomy, consequently, has been endemic in the peripheralthe northern and northeastern frontiers withBurma attained independenceS. Such insurgency has grown out of the demands of the minorities for greater autonomy and the efforts of theof the Union of Burmaominated by Burmans, to strvnyilicucontrol of the minority 3reas.

At the time that Burmaanted independence, semiautonomousunits encompassing major ethnic minoritythose of the Kachin andestablished. Autonomy was token, however, and CUB-minority relations deteriorated steadily during, Attempting to counter such deterioration, the CUB has at limes modified integration policies to rally minority support to the Covcrnment. For example, the Covemmcnt2 reversed its1 decision to adopt Buddhism as the state religion, andumber of minority leaders were appointedivilian advisory body created by the CUB in order to study and make constitutionalto promote nationalharter presumably included the topic of minority integration.

5S. Proximity to the border, close ethnic tics, and ineffective administration of the physically difficult north and northeast have strengthened the traditionally close contacts existing between die minorities of Burma and their ethnic brethren living in the contiguous areas of China. These factors tend to facilitate Chinese sponsorship of insurgency in Burma by such groups. In recent years, China has wooed the Burmese hill peoples living near those sectors of tlic border where CUB control has been minimal by offering hard-to-gct consumer commodities at low prices in bazaar* located on the Chinese side ol the border. In addition, itinerant Chinese traders have traditionally peddled their wares in Burmese tribal villages. Although they are now presumed to be more restricted in their cross-border ciicuits, Chinese peddlers reportedly have seeded some of the villages in Burma's frontier with Chinese propaganda items.

'The twin "Bunnan" applet lo meinuvis oflominam crlinlc grnup: the Irrw "Burmese" icteif to nationals of Burma without n'card to ethnic distinctions.


Ethnic insurgent foices along Burmu's northern and northeastern frontiers have been strengthened and clashes with the Burmese Army have been more frequent sincehen China began to step up its previously low-key aid to the Insurgents.ntelligence reports indicated that intensified Chinese materiel support had enabled the insurgents to engage Covemmcnt forces in several major encounters and to inflict serious defeats in some instances Despite the apparent willingness of certain ethnic Burmese insurgent groups to accept arms and training wherever offered, however, they are not necessarily willing to accept Communist direction. Chinese or local Ethnic diversity in northern and northeastern Burma and factionalism among the insurgents,tend to lessen the chances that China couldargo and unified movement responsive to its control. Disenfranchised minority peoples, living In aieas remote from population and political centers, do not necessanlyolid base for rebellionider scale.

The Kachin and Shan are the major ethnic minorities in north andBurma. Their insurgent armies have long infested these regions, and some of them have been armed and (rained by the Chinese. The Wa and the Lahu have also been active in anti-CUB insurgency, and intelligence reports indicate that they, too. have received some Chinese aid. The only other ethnic group in the Burma-China frontier area reported to have been penetrated by China is theprimitive people occupying the Burma-China-Laos tri-border area and numbering00 in Burma. Information received0 indicates that upurmese Akha were recently trained and armed in China. Morearen liveibbon of mountainous terrain astride the Thai land-Burma border, extending south from die Shan State well into the Kra Isthmus. Although they have long plagued the Burmese Government, there have been no reports of Chinese Communist support of their insurgency. The moreiles of nigged terrain lying between the Karen lands and China, moreover, makes significant Chicom aid unbkefy. The Karen of Burma, for these reasons, have not been discussed in this report.

Because overland communication across segments of the Burma-China border arc difficult, the nature and extent of Chinese support of large-scale insurgency In Burma are limited. The Burma Road, extending northward from Lashio ond winding through the rugged terrain of Yunnan, is the only route that couldarge-scale movement by motorew dry-weather motorablc routes are suitable for the restricted movement of men and materiel between China and the Shan State, but all of these become impassable forand difficult even for pack animals, during the May through September wet season Even on tbe Burma Road, landslides, washouts, and swollen streams may halt traffic for daysime during these rainy months. Border crossings between China and the Kachin State arc limited to mule-caravan tracks and to coolie paths through difficult mountain passes, most of which are blocked by snow during much of the winter (late December tohere are no

railroad* to link China with Burma; Ihe nearest railhead* arc at Kun-ming, China, and at Luhio and Myitkyina in Burma.

Tho Kachin

Kachin* arc (he moil widespread of the tribal group* in northBurma. Thay number somewhat more, with aboutof them being concentrated in Kachin State, where they compriieol the total population. The remainder are found, for the mostthe northern part of Shan State. Several hundred thousand Kachin alsoIn Yunnan frovince as far eastward as the Salween River. InKachin occupy upland slopes from the northern lip of the country well into

Shan State and. in the west, the slopes of the Hukawng Valley and other valleys

extending into Assam.

Kachin have an impressive mibtary background. Having formedpart of the British Colonial Army in Burma, they continue toCUB with some of its best battalions. They distinguished themselves Inof warfaie under their British and American mentors during World Waronly were they adept at intelligence-gathering activities, but theysoldiers and crack riflemen as well. They continue theirtoday: five battalions of Kachin Rifles fight on the side ol thoagainst insurgent groups that infest many parts of the country, while thou-

- sands of Kachin guerrillas, under the banners of the Kachin Independence Armyhe Northeast Command of the Communist Party of Bunna, or other insurgent or bandit groups, plague Government troops and Installationsmuch ol the Kachin and Shan States.

Kachin migrations from the eastern Tibetan Plateau region of China into upper Burma, which began centuries ago. continue to this day. Many Kachin living in upper Burma (Kachin State and northern Shann fact, have trekked across the border from China in the past two decades, fleeing from China's oppressive minority policies. Such refugees trickle through the border passes and. if undetected by CUB officials, settle among their Burmese Kachin brethren.

The travels of the average Kachin peasant are confined to regular visits to the nearest market town and to occasional hunting expeditions. For those involved in two traditionalcultivationther hand, travels are more extensive. The Kachin arc inveterate cultivators, users, and traders of opium. That part of the crop that is not consumed locally is transported by pack train either into Assam or. in much larger volume, southward across the Shan Stale into Thailand, where it is commonly traded for arms and ammunition destined for Kachin insurgents. Opium shipped to Assam is usually tnmjporiod by Kachin merchants; tliat going to the Thai market, however.

' "Kachin"Burman lemi meaningt is appliedumber of culturally similar but linguistically distinct peoples In the do: lb era Kills of Bunna.

is most often carried by Shan or Chinese Kuomintangraffickers; they procure- their supply from Kachin growers in major towns such as Myitkylni or Bhamo.

achin officers and enlisted men in Burmese Army units are found in all parts of the country; tbe Kachin serving with the various insurgent bands, on tlic other hand, are confined to upper Burma Although tbeir effectiveness would be diminished if they were to operate in unfamiliar terrain far from their hilly homelands. Kachin rebels probably have fewer qualms about moving further into tho heartland of the country than insurgent representatives of other ethnic groups in north or northeast Burma. They would have to be financially motivated, however, to foresake the security of their hills in order to attack distant targets in the central Burma stronghold of the CUB.

t times down through the centuries China has extended suzerainty well into the Kachin lands of upper Burma The area that is the focus of present Kachin-led insurgency in the northern Shan State, in fact, has been on occasion under at least nominal Chinese control. During the British expeditions into upper Burma, which sought to bring the highly independent Kachin under effective governmentalhina provided sanctuary for anti-British Kachin rebels, much as it is doing for pro-Communist insurgent groups today.

6S. Christian proselytizing by Western missionaries among the Kachin in both Yunnan and upper Burma helped to establish bonds between tbe Kachin living -on both sides of the border. Missionary activity in China was squelched after the Communist takeover, however, and cross-border religious ties were largely severed. Many Christian Kachin subsequently fled from China into upper Burma.

Various factions of tbe KIA control most of the Kachin country outside the limits of the major towns in which CUB military garrisons are maintained.onsequence, transportation facilities in rural areas axe particularlyto insurgent strikes. The few roads in the region are more often under insurgent control than not and. even when controlled by the GUB, the possibility of traffic interdiction from insurgent sabotageonstant threat. The only rail line that taps upper Burma, which reaches to Myitkyini from Mandalay and points south, hasopular target for insurgent attacks.

The Kachin, as well as other hill peoples of upper Burma, lived In virtual isolation for centuries before the arrival of the British colonialists. Prior to the British intrusion in theh century. Burmese suzerainty bad been minimal, and contact between the Bur mans and the Kachin was limited. The Kachin. consequently, were unaccustomed to the more stringent controls imposed by the British, and they remainedtate of rebellion during much of the British colonial reign. Grievances were aggravated after the transfer of posver to the Burmanshe resentments created by these grievances exploded1 with tho formation of the KIA, and they remain, for the most part, iinrcctihed to this day.

'Remnants of fflniscr Chinese Nationalist military forces who retreated south ward from China into the Burma-Laos-Thailand bordeilands in the.

ew Kachin havetrong sense of Burmese nalionalism. If given the option, in fact, most would elect to secede and form an autonomous Kachin State. Educated Kaclon believe that the CUB has done little for tbem io its more thanears of rule. They are of the opinion that the CUB policy has not promoted educational improvement, economic development, or self-expression In (he Government for theirrincipal source of resentment is the inadequacy of educational facilities in the state. The opportunitiesachin toigh school education and toniversity are slim. Paradoxically, as the CUB strives to improve educational facilities, the Kachin resent having to learn Burmese, without which they cannot pass the entrance exam to enrollniversity. Kachin are also dissatisfied with theodest development plans for their slate. Although their contribulions to Centralcoffers are minimal and, hence, the budgetary support from Rangoon is actually disproportionately large, the absolute sums are small and lead to the conclusion that Rangoon is not really interested in Kachin welfare. Lack of representationigh level in the Covemment is an additional irritant. Although many Kachin occupy positions in the State Government, few have important positions in the National Covemment in Rangoon.

1 constitutional amendment which established Buddhism as the stare religion of Burma was resented by Kachin Christians* and animists alike. Even though the Ne Win Government, which came to powerenounced the amendment, the memories of this religious issue remain to feed suspicion of the CUB. This issue, probably more than any other, led to the formation of tbe KIA. The harassment and eventual expulsion of foreign missionaries by the CUB in theurther rankled Christian Kachin. Noteworthy is the fact that most Kachin insurgent leaders arc Christian.

The Kachin revolutionary spirit was solidified duringi to the point thatajority of all Kachin probably support the indcpendcncc-mindcd KIA. Although not widely backed by the Kachin populace initially (KIA tares, like those of Ihe CUB, are nothe KIA has gained supporters, due largely to clumsy CUB countcrinsurgcncy efforts. It is now ihe most unified and popularly backed insurgent group, and has an estimated armed strength ofen. Ruthless and poorly focused CUB suppression operations, such as the burning of an entire village if one villager is found to be serving in the insurgent army, has produced recruits for the KIA. Kachin distrust of the CUB has been further heightened by the imprudent behavior of some of the Government troops stationed in upper Burma. There have been enough instances of rape, knifing, and chicken-stealing Io foster bitter resentment among the Kachin. Such improprieties are naturally blamed on the present Ne Win Military Covemment. The forced transfer of the entire population of Kachin villages from insurgent-infested areas,has not been popular among those who have been resettled

urmese Kacbio attitudes toward the present Communist rulers of China vary. Those who have lived on both sides of the border, and who have experienced

or heard tales concerning the oppression o! fellow tribesmen in China, hate the Chinese withierce intensity. Those whose contacts have been limited to the local Chinese merchant, on the other hand, tend to view the Chinese far less passionately. Some leaders, critical of the Rangoon administration, feel that China could be no worse than the CUB. As part of her policy to improve relations with Burma's border peoples, China has told Kachin insurgent trainees that she favors the incorporation of Kachin lands on both sides of the border into one autonomous region. Althoughuse mayesponsive chord among the more gullible Kachin. those who arc better educated are not likely to acceptroposal. Most Christian-educated leaders, who have strong anti-Communistwould be particularly dubious ofromise. Anti-Chinese attitudes and resistance to Communist organizational efforts arc especially strong south of Bhamo, an areaatural corridor slices through the border terrain and where, consequently, Chinese refugee crossings have been heavy. The KIA reportedly began the compulsory registration and heavy taxing of all ethnic Chinese Inhabitants in this area in.

Because of the great intermixture of Kachin and Shan throughout upper Burma, contacts between the two groups have always been closer than those between the Kachin and the Bunnans or between the Kachin and the Chinese. Many Kachin, consequently, have adopted the socio-political system, religion, dress, and agricultural practices of the Shan. Intermarriage has been common. Shan influence has been particularly strong in the northern Shan State, and the Kachin living there have lost much of their ethnic identity.

Chinese Communist recruitment of Kachin youth for paramilitary training was first reported in thehen several hundred young Burmese Kachin traveled across the border. Their indoctrination into Communist ideology was not intensive, and they returned to Burma to be integrated into KIA units with little trouble. Later on, however, trainees apparently were more vigorously indoctrinated by their Chinese teachers, and their subsequent integration into KIA units led to hassles with anti-Communist commanders. Because of thesesome pro-Chinese KIA troops fled to China; others joined Saw Seng's pro-Communist Kachin People's Liberation Army, which had entered the northern Shan State in

Naw Seng's army, equipped and trained in China and reportedlyby Chicom PLA (People's Liberation Army) advisors, operates in the border area of the northern Shan State between Namhkam and the Salween River,roops include Kachin, Shan, Sino-Burmans, andew Wa, Lahu, and other hill peoples. Nawormer captain in the Burma Army, had fought Communist insurgents in the years after Burma's independence. He defected to China0 andLA unit of several hundred other Burmese Kachin defectors. This unit was subsequently swelled by Kachin recruits from China before becoming an insurgent Burmese "liberation army" prior to its infiltration into the Shan State.

7S. Attempts by the Naw Seng army to recruit KIA troops were not wellby KIA leaders, and bloody skirmishes ensued. As the intensity of these clashes diminished, de facto spheres of influence were established and, byenuous truce existed. The truce polarized the Kachin insurgent groups into anti- and pro-Chicom segments, with most of the KIA factions remaining staunchly anti-Chinese. One KIA leader (Zawowever, maintains that he will continue to accept all sources of assistance so long as no political strings are attached. Another leader (Zaw Tu) reportedly receives Chinese arms in

training site* in China. The Shan

he Shan account for about half of the population of the Shan Stateotaleople were in the Shan State, accordingUDbe remainder is comprised of Burmansariety of hill peoples, including Kachin. Wa, and Lahu. Shan are also widely dispersed outside the state;ive in the valleys of upper Burma, particularly in the Hufcawng Valley, around Putao, and between Myitkyina and Bhamo; others live in central Burma. Although most live in the hilly or mountainous regions of the country, the Shan are notill people; they occupy intennontane valleys where they cultivate wetland rice.

The Shanai people, physically and culturally related to the Thai of Thailand, Lao of Laos,ultitude of hill groups of northernAsia and southwestern China. The Tai ethnic family numbers0espite wide geographic distribution of Tai groups and their mutual isolation from each other, their dialects are mutually intelligible.

The Shan do not have the skill with weapons or the traditional inclination for warfare that is exhibited by their upland neighbors. For example, unlike the Kachin, their resistance to Japanese occupation during World War II wasDespite their lacktrong military heritage, however, local insurgent and bandit groups, manned partly by Wa and Lahu "mercenaries" hired from the neighboring hills, have long plagued Shan country, and the Shanistory of resistance to rule from Rangoon, whether British or Burman. Sinceinsurgent bands have thrived in the Shan State and hit-and-run raids have been conducted against CUB installations and patrols.

he Tai peoples, including the Shan, began migrating out of China into northern and northeastern Burma, Thailand, Laos, and North Vietnamago. Shan migrations into Burma, like those of the Kachin, are stillmany Shan living in die southern Kachin State and northern Shan State are recent immigrants from Yunnan. Some highly Burmaniied Shan have drifted out of the Shan State into centralew have moved southward and settled in the Irrawaddy Delta and northern Tenasserim. Shan hung among the Kachin in upper Burma, although culturally and linguistically related to those of the Shan State, remain isolated from them and identify more readily with their Kachin neighbors.


S3 MM Shan peasants do not iravcl farther than the nearest marketew. however, are traders, and others are engaged in opium traffic and gun running Such entrepeneurs are likely to travel throughout the Shan Slate as well as into upper Burma. Thailand, Laos, and Yunnan. Insurgents and bandits alsoood deal and may. from time to time, cross international boundaries to avoid CUB suppressive operations.

s in the Kachin State. Chinese suzerainty has at times extended well into tlie Shan State; sawbwas (Shan feudal princes) in the territory east of the Salween, in particular, have been intermittently responsive to Chinese rule. (Chinese maps for some time after Burma's independence depicted this tract as belonging to China.)

he western edge of the Shan State is an escarpment which, for most ofile length, rises moreeet above the plains to the west andarrier to surface transportation between the Shan country and the Burmese heartland. Only two good roads cross theMandalay and Maymyo in the north (part of the "Burma Boad" which leads intond between Medulla and Taunggyi in the suuth {which leads eastward toail lino extends ftom Mandalay into the State as far ai Lashio and another connects Taunggyi with the trunk line extending through the Sittang Valley. Both road and railroad targets have been attacked by insurgents. The deeply entrenched Sahveenby only two bridges in its course -through the Shana serious detencnt to surface movement and restricts logistical support of CUB military operations cast of the river. CUB presence in the trans-Salwecn territory hat been minimal, limitedarge garrison at Kengtungew military outposts scattered elsewhere. Consequently, the territory has been rife with ethnically mixed bands of insurgents, bandits, and opium smugglers, who have been able to operate free from substantial CUB interferenco-

The Shanreat many cultural traits with the Burmans.ody of customs, ceremonies, folk beliefs, and values associated with Buddhism-Those living within predominantly Bunnan areas, moreover, have been largely "Burmanifted" and have adopted Burman dress andmuch the same way that the Kachin living in predominantly Shan areas have absorbed Shan ways. Despite common traits and extensive acculturation, however, the Shanistinctive people- Most dislike and distrust the Burmans. They further feet that Shan culture, particularly its socio-political system, is superior to Bur-man culture and that their present politically subservient status is an unfair vestige of British colonialism. Most Shan, like tho Kachin. would prefer to govern themselves.

The Shan arc physically and culturally closer to the Tai peoples living in neighboring countries lhan they are to ethnic groups within Burma's borders Such cross-border ethnic ties have been particularly strong among those Shan living cut ot tho Salween. Movement into northern Thailand has been common iiinong trans-Salwuen Shan insurgents seeking arms and sanctuary from CUB

counlcrinsurgent operations Pun-Tai nationalist movements, proposing to unify all Tai-speaking peoples, have been advocated by extremists from (lute to time, but they have never "gotten off the ground."

S3 Chinese influence among the Shan, particularly in the border tone, has been greater than it has been among tbe Kachin or other hill peoples, andintermarriage has taken place. The Shan dislike of the Chinese,is not as pronounced as that of the Kachin. The Shan with Chinese blood and those whose contacts with the Chinese have been frequentuch closor kinship to them than to theizable number of Chinese refugees who fled into Burma after the takeover of China by the Communists still live in the eastern Shan State; many of them have married Shan Remnants of KMT irregular armies are still active in the Bur ma-Laos-Thai land rribordcr area, engaged mostly in the extortion of taxes from the opium or arms caravans thai traverse their territory. Various KMT armies have reportedly fought bloody skirmishes with each other in recent years over tho control of such traffic.

ics between the hill peoples of the Shan State (including Kachin, Wa. Lahu, Akha, and Palaung} and the Shan aro far stronger than those between the hill peoples and either the Bunnarts or Chinese, both of whom are far outnumbered by the Shan. Shan cultural influence has been strong. The tub* peoples often were the pawns in rivalries between Shan savvbwas as they served as mcjcenaries in their armies. Such alliances continue today as Shan insurgent armies are manned largely by an assortment of hill peoples

SO. The traditional Shanumber of feudal principalities, each ruled by ato flourish during the British colonial era (the British ruled the Stuns through the sawbwas) After Burmese Independence, however, tbe sawbwas were gradually stripped of their powers by the CUB and their states were incorporatedingle Shin State,within the Union of Burma. Loss of their powers, coupled with CUB failure to abideonstitutional provision that guaranteed the Shan the right to secede from the Union afterears, led to insurrection by some disenfranchised and disgruntled sawbwas in the. Shan insurrection intensified during tbes various insurgent factions, demonstratingrief while an unusual degree of cooperation, declared Shan independence andhan Revolutionary Council to serveovernment in exile in Thailand. Factionalism and vicious internecine quarreling has otherwisethe Shan insurgent movement. The Shan States Army,ighting men, and the Shan Revolutionary Army,roops, are the major insurgent groups. Other armies, such as the Shan States National Army and tho Nam Suk Han. arc comprisedandful of fighting men at most. After the Sino-Burmese rift7 the CUB, in an effort to pacify Shanand solidify its position in its frontiers, granted amnesty to surrendered rebels andeasefire between CUB forces and Shan dissident groups in the traiis-Sahvccn territory. Such measures, however, did little to patch up differences between the dissident Shan and the CUB.

Son- Shan insurgentindit leaders, in quest of support for their continuing battle against CUB inteifcrence in their activities, have received arms and training in China. Chinese-trained and Shan-led armies, manned by several hundred ethnically mixed troopa. have engaged the Burmese Army in battles in the northern Shan States batttefront. Other Chinese-supported armies,have not so readily joined the Chinese-backed confrontation with CUB forces. They have, instead, utilized their training and arms in battles against otheiShun and KMT bandit groups.

The CUB. frustrated in its attempts to combat the increasing Chinese Communist-supported insurgent activity in the northern Shan State, has in the past two years organized bandit and smuggling groups into militias (called "Kha Kwaiyci" or "Self-Defenseo defend their areas against theSuch forces agreed to side with the CUB in exchange for Government non-in turf or encc in their illicit activities. Comprised of several thousand troops, they are led mostly by Shan or immigrant Chinese; enlisted men aic mostly hill tribesmen. CUB control of die militia forces has been tenuous, as the latter have increasingly fought against the Burmese Army rather than tha insurgents. Militia harassment of CUB forces north of Lashio increased in9 andargely in retaliation for the CUB detention of one of the militia leaders

The Wi

he W* are concentrated in rugged and remote hill country east of the Salwecn Hiver. astride the China-Burmaew of their villages, however, arc sprinkled southward into the southern Shan State. Theyrimitive and belligerent people, whose contact with outsiders has been minimal. Estimates of their numbersn Burma,n Yunnan.

he Wa were classified by the British into twoame* Wa. who live in the southern part of the Wa territory, have been largely acculturatcd by neighboringWa remain isolated in the north, suspicious of all outsiders. They formerly were avid collectors ofractice believed to have been associated with offeringsarvest spirit for the purpose ofood crop Although most Wa have been pacified and forsaken theirpractices, some "Wild" Wa roportedly have taken the heads of Chinese patrols who have trespassed into their territory in recent years.

istorically, the Wa have fought not only among themselves but against uninvitedBurman. Shan, orhave dared tointo their territory. Formidable fighters using traditional weapons such as the crossbow with poisoned arrows, they also excel in the use of mote modem weapons. Despite such qualifications, however, they playedinor role in guerrilla operations against the Japanese forces during World War II, largely because their warlike reputations and suspicion of strangers made them difficult to iccrutt. Allied and Japanese forces only rarely entered their remote liomciand


he Wa arcobile people, lew venture far from home. Traders from China or from elsewhere in the Shan State have traditionally come into the Wa area to trade locally unavailable goods formajor cash crop of the Waew Wa. however, now journeyhailand to barter their opium.undred of them reportedly ventured southward into northern Thailand in ISrJS to seek refuge from the deteriorating military-politic.il situation in their homulands Because their territory extends on both sides of the China-Burma border, the Wa cross it at will. The presence of hostile Wa astride the border, in fact,ajor reason that the border was left undefineda from China formerly traveled into the Shan State to seekusually returning homeesteggew months' work.

a country wasisputed area subject to both British and Chinese territorial claims. It has never been under more than nominal outside control. Lack of substantial CUB presence, coupled with the Wa position straddling die border, facilitates Chinese sponsorship of any Wa insurgent movement.

he block of bind occupied by the Wa is one of the most remotein Burma. Targets for an insurgent force are few. There are no major towns (Kuntong is the largest) and no major transportation routesoad crosses the Salwecn River at Kunlong but it does not reach thehe remoteness of their territory and their reluctance to venture from it rules out the likelihood (hat the Wa could be usedajor insurgency force closer to the heartland of the country.

the "Wild" Wa of thea fiercelypeople Because of their geographic position in thehowever, they have become enmeshed in internationaltheir lands haveattleground in the current battlesinsurgents and the Burmese Army. Wa respectapparent CUB inability to cope with the insurgency does notimage. The more sophisticated "Tame" Wa of the south, moreover, haveof the CUB failure to provide services or to settle problemsthe Wa areas. Their "Wild" brethren, on the other hand, preferand resent any CUB intrusion Into their territory.

the Chinese have traditionally been the principal enemyWa, KMT irregular units were allowed to settle in Wa territory afterof the Nationalist regime in China. Strong KMT-Wa alliancesattempted Chinese Communist attacks on the KMT camps were abortive;

tho attackers were ambushed by the Wa and their heads taken. The Chinese Communists, nonetheless, have madethrough the dispensing of gifts, medical services, andin gaining the loyalty of some

Burmese Wa villages near tbe border.

the Kachin. the Wa traditionally have had closer and moterelations with the Shan than with cither the Bunnans or the Chinese.and Shan, however, liavu had theirmostly by Shan

SE -

attempts to subjugate th* Wa. although the Wa have never acknowledged more than token allegiance to any Shan sawbwa, Wa outlaw! have frequently allied with Shan Insurgent or bandit groups. They have acted ns "toll collectors" along opium caravan routes to ensure that the trade ol one Shan sawbwa was not encroached upon by others when traversing Wa country

hundred Chinese-trained and -armed Wa insurgentsagainst Wa militiamen loyal to the CUB near Kunlongthe civilian population of Kunlong had beM evacuated by theeportedly, hordes of militiamen subsequently defected toranks.pro-CUB ormoreprotecting their Opium traffic than fighting for Or against the insurgents.

The Lahu

(See also discussion of the Lahu of Thailand, paragraphs7 of this report.)

Lahu have settled throughout the area of southwestern Yunnan,Burma, northwestern Laos, and northern Thailand. In the Shanthey number. they hve In scattered mountainous sitesthe Salween.ahu live in Yunnan, andLaos.

lthough less truculent than their Wa neighbors, tbe Lahu areo be extremely ruthless and, at times, almost fanatic tollers. They are well-versed in all phases of guerrilla warfare and, when effectively led. can be molded into efficient fighting forces,ar with the Kachin. During World War ii. the Lahu distinguished themselves in guerrdla attacks against Japanese forces that occupied northeastern Burma Some Lahu have, since Burma's independence, served as scouts in the Burmese -Army and participated in military forays against Shan and KMT outlaw groups operating in the eastern Shan State. They have, in addition, participatedUB-sponsorcd "home guard" program in which peasants have been armed to protect their villages from insurgent or bandit harassment. Other Lahu reportedly have been organized by the Chinese Communists into anti-CUB guerrilla forces.

be Lahu. unlike the sedentary Wa.ood deal. Their wanderings may be associated with the movingew* miles to cultivate freshunting expedition of dozens of miles to exploit game-nch territory;rekundred miles or more across an international boundary to seek freedom from government interference in "internal" affairs. The Lahu, likt- other hill peoples, pay little heed to international boundaries Many of those living in the Shan State migrated from China in the past two decades because of persecution by the Communist regime.arge group of Lahu from the southern Shan State has fled to northern Thailand in recent years in order to settle In an eb more sheltered from government harassment. Although the Lahu growash crop,ew arehe movement of the commodity to distant markets; most is sold or bartered to Shan or Chinese traders who make the rounds of the opium-growing Lahu villages.

ransportation facilities in Burma's trans-Salwccn territory arc poorly developedross-country trek over the generally rugged terrain between most Lahu areas and China would take several day* Consequently, poor logistical connections between China and the Burmese Lahu wouldimiting factor in any substantial Chinese Communist sponsorship of Lahu insurgency. On the other hand, since the CUB cwrts only token control over most of its trans-Salween country, oliclinc would not be subjected to serious GUI!

he Lahuobile people, and an effectively led Chinese Communist-supported Lahu insurgent army would be capable of striking any CUB target in the Shan State east of die Sal ween River. Key targets would include the Burmese Army garrison at Kcnglung and bridges across the Satwccn at Kunlong and Tn-kaw,

he Lahu, in general, arc less isolated than Ihe Wa and have had mote frequent contact with Burninus and Chinese. Like other hill peoples of Burma's northern and northeastern frontier, they are not fond of either. Most refugees from China despise the Chinese and would side with the CUB in any China-Burma hassle; other Lahu. particularly those who have received paramilitary training in China, arc staunchly anti-CUB. Some advocate the formationahu autonomous state which would encompass land in both Burma and Thailand. Relations with neighbors other than the Burmans and Chinese have also been strained. Lahu outlaws have clashed with both Shan and KMT armies over the control of opium and arms traffic through the eastern Shan State

here have been unverified reports for years that the Chinese Communists had subverted, trained, andarge group of Burmese Lahu under the leadership of the so-called Man-Cod (Mawriginally armed and trained by the Burmese Army in order to combat the Incipient Shan insurgent movement. Maw Na and his followers turned against their Burmese mentorsnd there ensued long and bloody battles in which entire Lahu villages were wiped out. There have been, in addition, reports of other Lahu going to China for training in recent yean Innsubstantiated reports claimed that Chinese Lahu officers of the PLAurmese Lahu insurgent leader to ask foi his cooperation inommunist insurgency in Burma. Their request was rejected.


Chinese Communists have long been interested in encouraging insurgency in northern Thailand. Taking advantage of the Thai Government's traditional neglect of their highland peoples, they have propagandized among some tribes and trained certain insurgent leaders in China. The effectiveness of these efforts is indicated, in part, by the marked escalation of the Meo insurgency that took place inurrently the Communists have dc facto controlart of the border area in two provinces that arc contiguous to Laos. Widening the present areas of insurgency, particularly in northern Thailand, wouldrequire Communist forces to progress, almost literally, from mountain to mountain, starting from the present Communist-he Id territory. The Communists would probably interdict lines of communication into the intervening valley, thus hopefully denying Covemment access to the valley, before moving on to the next mountain top.

In contrast to the early preparations made in Thailand, the subversive efforts of the Chinese Communists among the highland tribes of Burma were minimal during, even though some of these groups were engaged in anti-government activities as earlyhen diplomatic relations between Burma and China reached the breaking pointowever, the Chinese Communists quicklyribal subversive effort, attempting by this means to bolster the activities of the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) and to establish Communist-controlled areas along the Sino-Burmese border.

At present the major areas of insurgency in Thailand and Burma arc remote from their politico-economic centers. Logistical problems alone, in terms of distance, would probably discourage the extension of insurgent actions toward the national heartlands, that is, toward the great deltas. Should the Communists successfully widen the area of insurgency in northern Thailand, however, they would envelop many lowland Thai, with unforeseen consequences for the Thai nationhole, since lowlandersubstantial majoritythe northern region. In Nan Province, for example,otal population of0 were estimated to be tribal people.

In any attempt to extend the insurgency, Communist leaders may discover that the potential of the tribes to cooperate is limited. Although sharing some commonntipathy toward lowlanders, the foremost loyalty of each tribe is to itself. Civcn the freedom of choice, any one group, therefore, might be reluctant to cooperate with another in insurgency operations. The Black and Red Tai villagers, however, rallied to the Moo leader, Vang Pao. in Laos in the, and other instances of intertribal cooperation may be noted in Burma,ingle insurgent band may be comprised of Shan. Wa, Lahu, and Kachin.

The Communists hate used (hetechnique in their recruiting eftorti. promising tnbal people "the good life" if they will >oin the insurgency. If (he tribesmen hesitated, terror has often been used to persuade them ton all three countries, however, disillusioned recruits have defected because of excessive regimentation and political indoctrination

Should the Communists ever gain controlignificanUy large area of northern Thailand, they may become more subtle in their relations with tribes; as in China and North Vietnam, they might offerominal autonomy. If the tribes were to object to Communist restrictions on their traditional freedoms,they probably would have no more recourse than did (he "autonomous" minorities in Communist China and North Vietnam.

Original document.

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