On This Day

The Day Chinese Legend Zhou Enlai Celebrated Thingyan in Myanmar

By The Irrawaddy 15 April 2021

On this day in 1960, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai arrived in Yangon (then Rangoon), the then capital, and celebrated the new year or Thingyan with his Burmese counterpart, U Nu, as a gesture of bilateral friendship.

Three years earlier in 1957, Zhou, who was just recovering from an illness, went with foreign minister Chen Yi to Xishuangbanna Prefecture in Yunnan Province on Myanmar’s border to welcome U Nu, who was visiting Chinese new year celebrations. Zhou’s friends from Beijing asked him to avoid getting too wet but Zhou and U Nu marked the event in the traditional fashion.

On his 1960 visit, Zhou wore traditional Burmese dress.

He and U Nu agreed on the demarcation of their border and they later collaborated to crush nationalist, Kuomintang troops in late 1960 and early 1961.

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