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ANAHITA  December 1999

ANAHITA December 1999

Subject:

FYI more on the Mosuo

From:

Semira Dallali <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 27 Dec 1999 20:37:06 +-100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (55 lines)

Deborah and all,
I searched for the Mosuo (this is the right spelling) on the Internet, and found that most sites are aimed at tourists. The following paragraph is from a chapter on the protection and preservation of the matriarchal-matrifocal Mosuo, taken from The Priority Program For China's Agenda 21 launched at the First International High Level Round Table Conference 1994 (a/o supported by the UN).
http://www.acca21.edu.cn/pcprite1.html
Semira


 Background Lugu Lake is a plateau fault-structure and cut-off basin situated at an altitude of 2690.5meters in the hinterland of
the Hengduan Ranges, straddling the border between Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces. It covers an area of 50.4 sq. kilometers, has
an average depth of 45 meters, a maximum depth of 93.5 meters, and maximum water visibility of 12 meters. Downstream of the
lake is a 5 sq. kilometers wetland where twenty thousand birds of 50 species migrate in the winter. Among these is the class I
nationally protected black-necked crane. Lake species include theottelia acuminate var. crisp and schizothorax grahami. This
biological community is characterized by primitive origins and distinctive species, natures of temperate zone, rich calcicole, and
inversion between rare species and partial vertical zone. A-xia marriage is practiced primarily by the Mosuo people although some
Pumi people use it as well. Young men do not take women as wives to their homes and women do not marry off. Men and
women stay together or separate voluntarily, based on mutual feeling. She or he lives with her/his own mother's family,
respectively, and blood relationships are established through the mother's side. Community virtues such as unity, friendship,
equality, selflessness, and mutual help are held by each of matriarchal family and community member. Accordingly, international
sociologists, ethnologists and ecologists have paid much attention to this distinctive marriage-family structure. Lugu Lake is under
the jurisdiction of both Ninglang county, Yunnan province (51.8%) and Yanyuan county, Sichuan province (48.2%). This
separation of administration for the integrated social and ecological system of Lugu lake area has resulted in the disharmony
between ecosystem conservation and local social development. The lake's remoteness has been a key factor for the region's
underdevelopment. Serious deforestation has resulted in frequent landslides and other mountainous disasters. The ill-considered
introduction of outside species disturbed the local ecological balance and even resulted in the extinction of rare species. A heavy
housework burden and lack of education hinders the participation of women in social activities. The protection of the
lake-wetland-basin-mountainous ecosystem is incomplete, and is not integrated with social and cultural preservation of the
matriarchal family. The project falls under the goals of Chapter 24 of the Global Agenda 21: Global Action for Women toward
Sustainable and Equitable Development, and Chapter 26, Recognizing and Strengthening the Role of Indigenous People and Their
Communities. In addition, both Ninglang and Yanyuan Counties are included in the National Eight-Seven Plan for Poverty
Eradication. The Lugu Lake area is also an important part of the Yulong mountains of Lijiang, a national tourism region. Since the
1920ís, Chinese and foreign scholars such as Joseph Locker, Wang Chenquan and Yan Ruxian, as well as the Chinese Academy
of Sciences and local scientific institutes have done a lot of research on the matriarchal family and Axia marriage, as well as on
the local natural resources. A provincial-level Lugu Lake Nature Preserve has been established by Yunnan. A highway linking
Lugu town to Xichang city in Sichuan province was finished in 1995. Luoshui administrative village of Ninglang county was named
a "Model Community of the United Nations" (women and children category) in 1995. The United Nations Children's Fund has also
provided some aid for Luoshui Primary School. In addition, the Zhudi School of the Hope Project and a library will be built by other
international agencies and funds. The support of international agencies and active participation of multidisciplinary expertise will
provide favorable conditions for the project implementation.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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