Culture

The Amazons of Scandinavia

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According to The Local, the Chinese media have started carrying reports about a mysterious Sapphic settlement in Sweden:

Some reports suggest that the women of Shakebao are prone to switching identities, while others argue that they were all the same woman all along.
AB Svensk Filmindustri

The town, supposedly founded in 1820 in the northern Swedish woods by a wealthy widow, boasts 25,000 residents and a medieval castle, according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua.

A pair of blonde female sentries stand guard at the unnamed town, referred to in reports as "Shakebao" or "Chako Paul City", and men wishing to enter risk being "beaten half to death" by police.

In addition, many of the town's female residents turn to homosexuality "because they could not suppress their sexual needs", the Chinese news service Harbin News reports. The story also formed the basis of a Shanghai Media Group television report.

But Claes Bertilson, a spokesperson for Sweden's Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR), is doubtful about the claims made by the Chinese media about Sweden's supposed "women-only" town.

"I've never heard anything about it," he told The Local.

You should read the whole thing. In the meantime, you'll have to forgive me if I can't stop quoting it:

Most of the town's all-female population is employed in the forestry industry, with many sporting a "thick waist belt full of woodworking equipment", according to Xinhua.

And women who decide to leave the town to fulfill their carnal desires are only allowed to re-enter Chako Paul City if they agree to bathe and undertake several other measures designed to ensure that their out-of-town trysts don't negatively affect the mental state of other women in the town.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Xinhua adds that "Chako Paul's tourism industry is increasingly prosperous".

"Hotels and restaurants are everywhere, to receive women from around the world," the agency reports.

And in 2015: Paradise Island! |||

Although Per Wilhelmsson of the tourist office in Umeå in northern Sweden said he had never heard of Chako Paul City, he did confirm that tourism in thearea is bustling….

When asked what else might be drawing tourists to northern Sweden besides the chance to visit an isolated town filled with sexually frustrated females, Wilhelmsson had a theory of his own.

"It's hard to say for sure, but I think part of it might be increased interest following our designation as Europe's Cultural Capital for 2014," he said.

Update: Elaine Chow at Shanghaiist has more.