" It's an unusual sentiment to hear in China, a country whose traditional preference for boys combined with its stringent population control policy limiting urban couples to one child has resulted in an inconvenient shortage of women and wives.
Reporter Xiaoli Zhou, who comes from Shanghai, told us she had always wanted to visit the Mosuo region to see for herself how much freedom a woman might enjoy in China. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism in May 2005.
In 2004, we sponsored Zhou on such a trek as part of our FRONTLINE/World Fellows program for promising journalism students. In the 1970s, a road was built into the mountainous area where the Mosuo live. But, since then, it has opened up to the outside world, and in recent years, the Chinese have marketed the area -- particularly the beautiful Lugu Lake region -- as a tourist destination.
Behind the Lens: Interview With Xiaoli Zhou Filmmaker Xiaoli Zhou discusses the increasing pressures on "the women's kingdom" from the outside world and some of the challenges of working as a journalist in China. On Rough Cut this week, you'll meet La Mu and several extraordinary Mosuo women as we travel to "The Women's Kingdom" in southwest China, not far from the Tibetan Buddhist city the Chinese have renamed Shangri-La.
Zhou has just started a production company, German Camera Productions, with her husband, Brent Huffman. She is part of the Mosuo, an ethnic minority that has a matriarchal society, one of the last in the world.
Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, Zhou has worked for Chinese television outlets and The Wall Street Journal's Shanghai bureau. Among the recent video projects on which Zhou has worked are a documentary profile of Asian American actress Joan Chen and a television feature about China's emerging environmental movement. But La Mu lives beyond the strictures of mainstream Chinese society.
Male babies in China now outnumber girls by a ratio of 112 to 100; some researchers say it's 117 to 100.
But in frank conversations with Zhou, she also reveals the strains in her life and her doubts about the future of Mosuo culture. As a single mother, I am tired of being treated like I am somehow damaged goods. But certainly it is not the only structure for raising healthy and happy children. Mahalo and Aloha, Sam Lee Michelle Jones - Walker, Michigan I was intrigued by the Mosuo people, mostly women for many reasons! I am married-very happily-but the Mosuo people have figured out a way to keep their live peaceful and women are praised!
About FRONTLINE/World Fellows This week's Rough Cut -- Xiaoli Zhou's "The Women's Kingdom" -- is a production of the FRONTLINE/World Fellows program, our ongoing effort to identify and mentor the next generation of video and print journalists to report international news. Not only that, but the women love to work and want to and not a sad face in the bunch!This story from China completes our most recent round of Fellows reports, which also included journeys to Guatemala, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Haiti and across Europe by train from Istanbul to Paris. We recently awarded travel grants to another group of journalism students from U. Berkeley and Columbia who are setting off to Italy, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, China, Pakistan and Uganda. Carolin Mc Manus - Dowell, Maryland Zhou has created a well-balanced and beautifully presented cultural story here. What made me the happiest was to see a part of China where girls are welcome and no female infant has to be abandoned!" a blunt-spoken Mosuo woman named Cha Cuo asks Zhou. If a pregnancy results from this union, the child will be raised by the woman and her family."You Han people [the majority Chinese] are so different," Cha Cuo tells Zhou in the film."If the kid doesn't have a father, only a mother, and lives in the city, people would call him a wild child. " The 27-year-old Cha Cuo is one of the most memorable characters you are likely to meet on screen. Lee - Mililani,, Hawaii Thank you for such a wonderful story which I saw a few weeks ago on our PBS.Self-assured, physically strong, emotionally direct, we see her singing and dancing, and rowing across a deep blue lake. Clovis, CAI wish America would be more like the Mosou peoples. I just discovered your site, and I am going to email the story to my daughter and her three brothers.