Chinese media tempted by fantasy of women-only Swedish town
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.
“At 25,000 residents, the town would be one of the largest in northern Sweden, and I find it hard to believe that you could keep something like that a secret for more than 150 years.”
Bertilson was also at a loss as to where the fictitious account could have originated.
“I have no idea where something like this could have come from,” he said.
Accuracy aside, the Chinese press reports provide a plethora of titillating details about life in the mythical Swedish town.
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.
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 the area is bustling.
“Our tourism industry is doing quite well, among the best in northern Sweden,” he said.
He was fairly certain no “women-only” city existed in northern Sweden, adding that the story reminded him of a stunt carried out in the 1980s by Pajala, a northern Swedish town suffering from a different problem.
“They arranged for bus loads of women to come up to this town because there weren't enough of them,” he explained.
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.