No Plan to Change List of Chin Sub-Tribes, Says Union Minister

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Burma’s Union Minister of Labor, Immigration and Population U Thein Swe said on Tuesday that the ministry had no plans to revise its list of Chin sub-tribes, despite numerous complaints about its accuracy.

Speaking at the 13th session of the Upper House of Parliament in Naypyidaw, the minister cited the sheer difficulty of the task as the main reason for not pursuing the matter at this time.

“It’s very difficult to change the name of ethnic tribes. It involves a long procedure. That’s why we have no plan to revise the list of 53 Chin sub-tribes described in the 2014 Union census,” the minister said in answer to a question from Pu Gin Kam Lian, the MP for Chin State’s constituency 5.

He added that during the 2014 census, many people criticized the list of 135 officially recognized ethnic groups in the country. Some, he said, wanted to change the name used to designate their ethnic group, while others wanted a separate name to distinguish themselves from another group.

“So it’s a very complicated matter that we’re just not ready to address at this moment,” he said. 

The minister added that the list was based on the one used in 1983, when the last national census was conducted. He said that members of any group that was not represented on the list could select code 914 for “other” when filling out the census.

The official list of Burma’s 135 “national races” is frequently criticized for its exclusion of a number of large ethnic groups in the country, while also including some names that do not exist anywhere else.

According to the list, the Chin have the largest number of sub-groups, followed by the Shan, who have 33 distinct sub-groups.

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FACEBOOK: “It’s a very complicated matter that we’re just not ready to address at this moment,” said Burma’s Union Minister of Labor, Immigration and Population U Thein Swe.

TWITTER: The list of 135 #ethnic groups in #Burma, including 53 in #ChinState alone, is notorious for its inaccuracy. #Myanmar #census

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