Social Organization. Household and village are the main units of social organization, though the Lahu recognize parallel descent groups. The village leadership deals with offenders of local custom through fines, punishments, or sometimes expulsion.
Political Organization. Before 1949, there were two kinds of political control superseding the village communal structures. East of the Lancang River, there was a bureaucracy of government officials similar to that found in Han areas. West of the Lancang, there existed a chieftain-dominated feudal government. In 1953, the Lancang Lahu Autonomous County was established, followed by the Menglian-Dai-Lahu-Va Autonomous County in 1954. Organization followed the pattern established in other ethnic areas of China: during the 1960s and 1970s, division into communes and brigades; in the 1980s, division into townships and villages.