Burma

Shan Gather to Pay Respect to Revolutionary Leader Moh Heng

By The Irrawaddy 12 July 2019

SHAN STATE—Hundreds of Shan from several generations gathered in Pieang Luang on the Thai-Myanmar border on Thursday to attend the 28th anniversary of the death of revolutionary Shan leader Moh Heng, also known as Kwon Zerng.

A highly respected figure among the Shan whose career spanned from the 1950s to his death, in 1991, Moh Heng was born in Hopong Township in 1923. He first fought against the Japanese in World War II with the Allied Forces. He joined the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) in 1952 but, within a few years, left the CPB to set up his own Shan State Communist Party.

A statue of Shan Revolutionary Leader Moh Heng is displayed at the home passed away in. / The Irrawaddy

Moh Heng went underground in 1958 with Shan insurgents and eventually lost his left arm in a battle with the Burmese Army in 1960.

After breaking away from the Shan State Army, Moh Heng set up the Shan United Revolutionary Army, receiving support from Kuomintang, or KMT, leaders that were then active in Shan State near the Thai border. They fought to establish an independent Shan State.

Children attend the 28th anniversary of the death of Shan leader Moh Heng in Pieang Laung on Thai-Myanmar border. / The Irrawaddy

Moh Heng said that if the Burmese won’t grant them their independence, “we’ll have to go fight the Burmese and conquer Burma.”

Moh Heng set up a base at Pieng Luang, near Chiang Dao on the Thai-Myanmar border, and established the Tai Revolutionary Council (TRC), later merging with drug lord Khun Sa. He served as chairman of the TRC until his death, in July 1991.

A former colleague speaks in front of Moh Heng’s tomb on a hill in Pieang Luang on Thursday, July 11, 2019. / The Irrawdady

His comrades built for him a tomb on a hill in Pieang Luang where many Shan migrants that have left Myanmar now live. Now, at the house he died in, Shan people display photos of him and his life every year. This year saw residents of Pieang Luang but also old comrades from towns further inside Thailand come to pay their respects.

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