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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Not to be confused with Wa (Japan), Washington (the U.S. state), or Washington State University

Flag of the de facto Wa State in Myanmar

Wa State (Chinese: 佤邦pinyin: Wǎ Bāng) is an unrecognised state in Myanmar (also known as Burma) and is currently subsumed under the official Wa Special Region 2 of the Northern Shan State. The administrative capital is Bangkang (Chinese: 邦康pinyin: Bāngkāng, formerly known as Panghsang 邦桑). The name Wa derives from an ethnic group, who speaks a language in the Austroasiatic family of languages. Wa State has a population of an estimated 558,000. Wa State is an undefined area that encloses eastern Shan State.

Many of the Wa are animists, and a small proportion of the population follows a derivative of either Buddhism or Christianity. The Wa were once known as the Wild Wa for their "savage" behavior as headhunters.


Illicit drug trade

The United Wa State Army (UWSA) is the largest narcotics trafficking organization in Southeast Asia, with 20,000 soldiers. It was once allied with the Communist Party of Burma, with 4,000 soldiers. The UWSA cultivates vast areas of land for the opium poppy which is later refined to heroin. The money from the opium is used for weapons and such. Although the Burmese government has begun taking measures to decrease the production of such drugs, it is an arduous task, because of corruption at high levels in the government and lack of infrastructure to carry out operations.


After the Communist Party of Burma lost control of its bases in central Myanmar in the late 1960s, it re-established itself in the northeast including Wa State, with the support of China. The Wa, like other ethnic groups were fighting for autonomy from Myanmar, and supported the CPB. They eventually rebelled along with the Kokang against the Burmese communist leadership, which was forced into exile across the Chinese border, at the time of the 8888 Uprising in mainland Myanmar. Following the subsequent collapse of the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) rule under Ne Win in Myanmar, the WNO made ceasefire and peace agreements with the new military regime, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC}.

See also


  • Hideyuki Takano, The Shore Beyond Good and Evil: A Report from Inside Burma's Opium Kingdom (2002, Kotan, ISBN 0-9701716-1-7)
  • Andrew Marshall, The Trouser People: a Story of Burma in the Shadow of the Empire. London: Penguin; Washington: Counterpoint, 2002. ISBN 1-58243-120-5

External links

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