Today, Dehong's largest city is Mangshi, officially known as Luxi, followed by the thriving border town Ruili, China's drug and HIV capital. Yet the northern route through what are now Lianghe and Yingjiang was the until the building of the Burma Road in the 1930s China's trade link to Burma, travelleed for centuries by caravans. Longchuan lies along the western side of the Dehong triangle.
After Britain's 1852 annexation of lower Burma lucrative trade with China through its back-door seemed more than a distant possibility. But after a successful first mission up the Irrawaddy and into Yunnan in 1868, the second British mission six years later ended in tragedy.
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