Shan People, Shan State & Shan Government


Country Profile 

Lies between 19 and 24 degrees latitude North, and Stretches from 96 to 101 degrees longitude East, covering approximately 64,000 square miles; shares boundaries with Burma, China, Laos, Thailand and the Karenni.

Topography and Drainage:

Bisected north to south by the Salween River, one of the longest rivers in Asia. It lies at an average of 2,000 feet above sea-level, and the highest point, Mount Loilaeng, is 8,777 feet. It is composed of broad valleys, thickly wooded mountain ranges and rolling hills forming scenic landscapes. Jong-ang, the biggest waterfall (972 feet) can be found near the town of Kengtong in Mongnai State.


There are three seasons: Monsoon (May to October), Cold season(November to January) and Summer (February to April). Annual rainfalls average between 40-60 inches. The overall temperature is equable throughout the year: not too cold and not too hot.

Pine and evergreen forests can be found in abundance. Teak and various kinds of hardwood cover over 47,210 square miles.

The bulk of the so-called Burmese natural resources are in the Shan State: silver, lead, gold, copper, iron, tin, wolfram, tungsten, manganese, nickel, coal, mica, antimony, fluorite, marble, gemstones and even uranium. Major Operating Mines are: the Mogok (Mognkut in Shan) and Mongsu ruby mines, and the Namtu Bawdwin silver mines discovered by the Chinese traders and renovated in 1904 by none other than Herbert Clerk Hoover (1874-1964) who became the 31st President of the United State.

A study of the Indian geological reports made by Drs Cogging and Sondhi in 1993 reveals Northern Shan States as incredible mining potential...As for Southern Shan¡¦s remarkable resources, they can be studied from the reports made by a G.V. Hovson (Shanland¡¦s Grievances, by Htoon Myint of Taunggyi, )

People :

The population of these multi-racial people, described by ancient travelers as the most peace loving people who trust everybody and envy nobody is estimated at 7-10 million, the majority of whom are Tai, of the same ethnological stock as Thai and Laos, plus several other racial groups including Pa-o, Palaung and Wa of Mon-Khmer stock; and Kachin, Akha and Lahu of the Tibeto-Burman stock. All in all, it¡¦s various indigenous races have lived harmoniously together for centuries. This fact is supported by the political analyst Josef Silverstein, who say¡¦s: ¡§Although the Shans dominated the people in the area both politically and numerically, they never assimilated the minorities; as a result, cultural pluralism existed through out the Shan States¡¨. (Politics in the Shan State, The Question of Secession from the Union of Burma, 1958, by J. Silverstein). The Shan¡¦s stand on the racial question is best described by Sao Shwe Thaike, who in his capacity as the Speaker of the Constituent Assembly, countered the objection that Muslims could not be considered as being indigenous by saying : ¡§Muslims of the Arakan certainly belong to one of the indigenous races of Burma. If they do not belong to the indigenous races, we also cannot be taken as indigenous races.¡¨

Shan is still the first language of the majority, though due to 60 years under the British Protectorate and 40 years under Burmese neo-colonialism, usage of English and Burmese has become fairly common.

As for attire, Shan men, unlike the Burmese, who wear longyis or long skirts, don long baggy trousers. Theravada Buddhism is the pre-eminent faith, and perhaps due to this tolerant religion, Hinduism, Christianity, Islamism and even animisms flourish in this land.

Primarily a self-sufficient agricultural economy, being blessed with fertile soil, it produces rice, tea, cheroot leaves, tobacco, potatoes, oranges, lemon, pears, and opium. Cattle-and horse-breeding is also a common sight in low grasslands. Added to the fact that it is rich in mineral resources and abundant in teak timber, there is no reason why the Shan State could not become one of the richest and most economically dynamic countries in Southeast Asia, given a favorable political climate. 

National flag

1.     The design of the national flag is as sanctioned at the Panglong Treaty conference in 1947.

2.     The size of the flag is ( 5ft. x 3ft)

3.     Diameter of the Moon is (1. ½ ft)

4.     The breath of the three colors: yellow, green and reddish (1 ft) each.


The meaning of the color:

1.     yellow is religion

2.     green is forest, and rich in natural resources and peace

3.     red is  bravery,

4.     white is purity



Government Structure and Portfolio

Interim Shan Government

Federated Shan States 


His Royal Highness Tzao Hso Khan Pha

President and Head of States



Hkun His Ha

Vice President


Hkun Seng Zed

Prime Minister


Hkun Hom

Foreign Minister



Hkun Htoon Aye

Defense Minister


Tzo Khur Sur

Home Minister 



Minister of Trade and commerce Khun Sai Yord
Minster of Forestry Khun Fa
Minister of religious and culture Tzao Hsur Htao
Minister of Education Hkun Vicitta
Minister of Health Hkun Sai Kham