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Inside Myanmar's strategic 'land of jade'

Military takeover has triggered a fresh drive for Kachin autonomy

A buyer checks a jade stone near a mine in resource-rich Kachin State, Myanmar, in 2015. The "self-reliant revolution" of Myanmar's Kachin ethnic minority is made possible by taxes on jade, gold, timber, opium and other resources that stream into China.   © Reuters

CHIANG MAI, Thailand -- After a fierce World War II battle against Japanese forces in the jungles of northern Myanmar, a dubious American commander questioned a Kachin guerilla fighter about an unusually high and exact body count. Emptying a bamboo tube on the general's desk, the guerrilla fighter suggested, "Count the ears and divide by two."

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