Wa (ethnicity)

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Wa women from Myanmar

The Wa (in Myanmar) or Va (in China; proper names: Ba rāog and Vāx ; Burmese ဝ လူမျိုး ; also known as Parauk ; Chinese  佤族 , Pinyin Wǎzú ) are an ethnic group in Myanmar (Burma) and the People's Republic of China .

The Wa live in Myanmar mainly in the eastern Shan state on the border with China and in the southern Shan state on the border with Thailand . The Wa population in Myanmar is estimated at 600,000 to one million. Panghsang is considered the capital of the Wa in Myanmar . The Wa also live in Yunnan and are one of the 56 officially recognized ethnic minorities in the People's Republic of China. According to the last census in 2010, China counted 429,709 people.

The Wa language belongs to the Mon Khmer languages and is generally the mother tongue of the Wa, but a large part of the Wa has a command of the Chinese language , which is the official and lingua franca in their autonomous region in Myanmar, alongside the Wa language.

The Wa became known through the United Wa State Army , a separatist group in Myanmar. Since an armistice with the military government in Rangoon in 1989, the Wa have enjoyed autonomy in the so-called Wa Special Region 2 , also known as the Wa state . 14-year-old Adul Sam-On, key figure in the rescue operation in the Tham Luang Cave in July 2018, was also a member of the Wa.

Most Wa are animists . But there are also Wa with Buddhist or Christian faith. Until the 1970s, the Wa were notorious headhunters who impaled the heads of those killed on stakes at the entrance to their villages. The British colonial power was never able to establish itself in the Wa areas of Myanmar.

See also


  • Magnus Fiskesjö: Introduction to Wa Studies. In: Journal of Burma Studies Vol. 17, No. 1 (June 2013).
  • Zhōu Zhízhì 周 植 志, Yán Qíxiāng 颜 其 香, Wăyǔ jiănzhì 佤 语 简 志 ( outline of the Wa language ; Běijīng 北京, Rénmín chūbǎnshè 人 民族 出版社 1984).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. General Background of the Wa. Quote: The official languages ​​(designated by the current UWSP administration) are Mandarin and Wa.
  2. After the successful cave rescue in Thailand: A story with many heroes on suedkuerier.de . accessed on July 12, 2018