‘Chin National Day has returned to Chinland’
20 February 2013: Celebrations of the 65th Chin National Day in Chin State brought a renewed ray of hope for the Chin people who had faced restrictions to hold their historic day in Burma for decades.
In Hakha, Chin State where the Chin National Front (CNF) and the government of Chin State jointly organized the event, Chin historian Dr. Lian Hmung Sakhong said the Chin National Day had come back to Chin State after a long journey of struggle.
Speaking on behalf of CNF as one of the Supreme Council members, Dr. Sakhong remarked: “The Chin National Day commemorated at this place at this moment this day re-establishes its 65-year-long strenuous history as a national movement of the Chin.”
Dr. Sakhong, winner of the 2007 Sweden’s Martin Luther King Jr. Prize, also stressed that the day is inseparably connected with democratic system when looking at the events of its emergence.
“Therefore, whenever an alliance of forces that opposed democracy got authority, celebration of the Chin National Day was not permitted. Just as democratic system was suppressed, so was permission to observe the day banned,” added the Chin scholar.
The Chin National Day has its origin mostly dating back to a two-day conference held in Falam from 18-20 February 1948, where the Chin opted of their own accord for democratic governing system against traditional aristocratic feudalism.
Historical records said only 17 out of about 5,000 representatives from across what was then known as Chin Special Division voted for their traditional ruling system of chieftainship.
Chairman of the Ethnic Nationalities Council (ENC) and Director of the exile-based think tank Burma Center for Ethnic Studies, Dr. Lian Hmung Sakhong said the Chin practiced their right to self-determination in voting at the Falam conference.
The Hakha celebration was attended by Union Ministers U Soe Thein and U Win Tun, Chief Minister of Chin State government Pu Hung Ngai and ministers, Chin MPs and members of the Chin National Front.
Last year, CNF, a Chin armed group fighting for self-determination, democracy and federalism in Burma since 1988, and Burma’s government reached a ceasefire agreement at meetings in Chin State and Rangoon.
It is the first time in years the Chin are officially allowed to celebrate their national day inside of Burma, making it another historical event in modern Chin history.
A series of celebrations are held in other parts of the country including Rangoon and Naypyitaw where Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Thura Shwe Man, Speaker of the Pyithu Hluttaw, the lower house of the Burmese parliament, also attended.
Today marks the 65th anniversary of the Chin National Day.
Van Biak Thang