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N 23° 29′ 39′′, E 98° 50′ 40′′
495 MASL
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No. 137 refugee camp of the Red Cross Society at the border near Nansan in China’s Yunnan Province during the 2015 Kokang offensive. Six years after the 2009 Kokang incident, which prompted the exodus of 37,000 refugees, the 2015 Kokang offensive forced an estimated 100,000 refugees to flee the conflict zone, the majority of which crossed the porous border into adjacent Yunnan Province.

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The newly constructed International Convention Center in Nansan, which was used as a temporary refugee camp during the 2015 Kokang offensive. Despite efforts to boost economic development through cross-border cooperation, unrest in Myanmar’s Kokang region remains the main obstacle to peacekeeping and economic growth.

1840: Located to the east of the Salween River (known in China as Nu River), the Kokang region was settled by troops and the exiled Han royal family at the end of China’s Ming Dynasty in the mid-17th century. In 1840, Kokang’s leader was recognized with hereditary rights as a vassal of the Qing Dynasty.


1885: After the Third Anglo-Burmese War in 1885, Upper Burma was annexed, and the province of Burma in British India was created in 1886.


1897: Initially placed in Qing China under the 1894 Sino-British boundary convention, the Han Chinese-dominated Kokang was ceded to British Burma in a supplementary agreement signed in 1897 and became part of Hsenwi State in northern Shan States.


1900: The rapid increase in opium use and production in Burma is linked to the development of the international opium trade promoted by the British colonial government since the 1820s. Kokang became a key transit point where opium from Burma’s trans-Salween area entered China and a major opium producer. Approximately 40,000 pounds of opium was produced in Kokang at the beginning of the 20th century.


1908: Trade between Kokang and Yunnan was formalized after the establishment of Zhenkang County controlled by the Qing administration. A major trade route followed the river valley and went through Nansan in Zhenkang and Laukkai in Kokang.


1942: During the Japanese occupation of Burma (1942–1945) in World War II (WWII), Kokang armed factions fight under Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, KMT) forces against Japanese occupiers of Burma. Border trade between Nansan and Laukkai was suspended until the early 1950s.


1950: Shortly after the end of WWII, China's civil war flared up again. In the early 1950s, almost the entire Kokang region was taken over by KMT forces, which was forced to flee across the border by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of the newly established PRC. 


1952: Mianning Prefecture (approximately today’s Lincang City) was established by the PRC in 1952. The PLA started to station troops in Nansan bordering Kokang region, where the KMT took sanctuary. Trade between Nansan and Laukkai resumed.


1988: Nansan Town of Lincang County was established.


1989: The internal conflict in Myanmar lasted for four decades after the country's independence in 1948. Laukkai has quickly developed since 1989, when the ceasefire agreement was signed and Kokang was assigned as the autonomous First Special Region of the northern Shan State of Burma.


1991: Nansan Port was established.


2003: Laukkai has witnessed casino booms since the early 2000s. Casinos function as an alternative source of income within the context of intensifying drug eradication in the region. An opium ban was enforced in Kokang region in 2003.


2009: A series of clashes between the Myanmar Army and the Kokang Army broke out in late August 2009. As many as 30,000 refugees fled through Nansan to Yunnan province in neighboring China.


2011: Burma’s Kokang Self-Administered Zone was formed in 2011, which replaced the First Special Region. Lincang Border Economic Cooperation Zone on the China side of the border was established.


2015: From February to June 2015, a series of clashes between the Myanmar Army and the Kokang Army broke out, which forced approximately 70,000 civilians to seek shelter on the Chinese side of the border.

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