Celebration of ‘Chin National Day’ Banned in Chin State
18 February 2011: The military-turned-civilian authorities have banned using a banner that reads ‘Chin National Day’ for its official celebration on 20 February in Chin State, Burma, Chinland Guardian‘s sources revealed.
Instead, the Chin communities organising their National Day event this year are forced to put up a poster of ‘Chin State Day’ for celebrating the historic day in most cities and towns including Hakha, the capital of Chin State.
A Hakha local who participates in preparing the celebration said: “We have no choice but to follow the orders as we are told if we would like to have the celebration. As far as I could remember, it’s happened like this at least for the past three consecutive years.”
When asked the differences between the two days, veteran Chin Politician Pu Lian Uk told Chinland Guardian that Chin State Day is to derive from January 3rd or 4th on which the Chin territory was designated and proclaimed as Chin State in 1974 due to the constant demand of the Chin people to have a self-governing territory as a constituent State of the Union of Burma (UB).
The US-based elected MP of the 1990 General Election in Burma also remarked: “It is an insult to the Chin people and contempt of Panglong Agreement and the principles of democracy.”
In other places including Tahan and Kalay Myo of Sagaing Division in Burma, Chin communities were claimed to have used ‘Chin Cultural Festival’ in attempts to avoid flagging ‘Chin State Day’ during their celebrations.
February 20, 2011 marks the 63rd anniversary of Chin National Day, which Chin communities outside Burma are to celebrate freely with a variety of Chin traditional rituals and performances in their respective residing cities and towns.
Chin political activist Salai Kipp Kho Lian said: “We abolished the ancient autocratic system of Chinland on the 20th February 1948 at a mass conference in Falam right after the Union of Burma gained Independence. In that sense, 20th February is marked as the day the political power in Chinland was handed over from autocratic rulers to the Chin people – the day the Chin people first enjoyed true freedom and democracy.”
The first Chin National Day was held on 20 February 1951 in Mindat Town of Chin State where U Nu, the then Prime Minister of Burma and other ethnic ministers attended the official ceremony.
The question still remains unclear how the newly appointed civilian government of Chin State will address this issue which has been going on against the will of the Chin people under the previous military rules in Burma.
Van Biak Thang