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N 23° 29′ 39′′, E 98° 50′ 40′′
495 MASL
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Wooden scaffolding during the construction of the meter-gauge Yunnan-Burma Railway through mountainous terrain. China, Britain and the US reached an agreement in 1938 to construct the Yunnan-Burma Railway to enable the transportation of supplies from the Western allies to support the Chinese war effort against the Japanese. The US provided loans to China and British Burma to construct their respective sections of the railway which met at Qingshuihe village in Mengding.

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Trucks loaded with sugar cane entering China from Myanmar at Qingshuihe Port during the COVID-19 pandemic. After the establishment of the Lincang Border Economic Cooperation Zone in Mengding in 2011, Chinese companies increased their investments, particularly in sugarcane plantations, in northern Myanmar. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a Green (Nothing to Declare) Channel was established at Qingshuihe Port to facilitate sugarcane imports.

1783: The mineral-rich Nanting River basin had long been under the control of Gengma chieftain, which was recognized as a vassal of the Ming Dynasty. The Gengma clan became increasingly influential during the Qing Dynasty after it was granted the management right of an imperial silver processing factory in 1783.


1885: Increasing British influence reached the mountainous frontier regions in the early 19th century. After the Third Anglo-Burmese War in 1885, Upper Burma was annexed, and the province of Burma in British India was created in 1886.


1899: After the establishment of strong rivals, namely, British authority in Burma and French rule in Indochina, the undemarcated nature of China’s southern boundaries became a source of anxiety. The Chinese and British delineated the southern section of the Sino-Burmese boundary in 1899, ending at the confluence of the Qingshuihe/Nanpa River and Nanting River, a tributary of the Salween River.


1910: The British and the French started to make plans of railway connecting Yunnan and their respective spheres of influence in the late 19th century. In contrast to the completion of the French Kunming–Haiphong railway in 1910, the British Yunnan–Burma railway was shelved due to lack of financial viability.


1912: Chieftainship was transformed into a prefecture or district administration after the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912. Mengding Town in Gengma was established.


1938: To transport supplies from Western allies to China, the Yunnan–Burma Railway project was unshelved after the outbreak of the Second Sino–Japanese War (1937–1945). The railway, which entered China at Qingshuihe village in Mengding, was believe to strengthen the connection established by the Burma Road linking Kunming in Yunnan and Lashio in Burma through Wanding.


1942: To prevent the flow of supplies from Burma to China, the Japanese Imperial Army occupied Lashio and advanced toward Yunnan. The Chinese Expeditionary Force dynamited the finished section of the Yunnan–Burma Railway to prevent enemy advances, and construction was never resumed.


1950: Mengding border trade market was opened to local residents.


1952: Gengma County was established as part of the Mianning Prefecture (approximately today’s Lincang City) by the People’s Republic of China.


1955: Gengma County was renamed as Gengma Dai and Va Autonomous County.


1966: The border trade market opened intermittently over the 1960s. China–Burma trade slowed during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), and the Qingshuihe checkpoint closed in 1966.


1980: The construction of the Qingshuihe border passageway commenced.


1988: The Qingshuihe border trade market opened.


1991: The Qingshuihe Port was officially opened.


2004: The Qingshuihe Port was upgraded to a national-level port.


2009: The construction of Yunnan–Burma Railway Heritage Park in Lincang City started in 2009 and opened to the public in 2013. The park memorizes more than 300,000 people, mostly ethnic minorities, who worked on the construction of the Chinese section of the railway from 1938 to 1942.


2011: Lincang Border Economic Cooperation Zone was established in Mengding, and construction of infrastructures in the area has since accelerated.


2018: The Mending section of Lincang–Qingshuihe Highway opened to traffic.


2020: The Dali–Lincang Railway opened to traffic, and its extension to Qingshuihe Port and further connecting to railways in Myanmar has been planned.

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