photo of Chinese woman northeast and southwest China
China glossary


(CHINA 26 - Southwest)








Fale village, Weining county, Guizhou


22 April 1997



Section 1
After we came to Dafa team, Su Zhonglan found two narrators. First, I interviewed a Han nationality, Mei. After I finished the interview with Mei, I went on to interview Dingzhen. Because there were too many people outside, we conducted the interview in the teachers’ dormitory of the primary school. Dingzhen's Han Chinese was very good, so in the end there was no need for an interpreter.

Are you Yi nationality?
En (yes).

What's your name?
My name is Dingzhen.

Dingzhen. How old are you?

How many people are there in your family? Now?
Altogether there are 6.

Who are the six?
Have... well, more than 6.
[I remembered I hadn’t changed the battery, so pause for a while]

I asked how many people are there in your family (here seems to be talking about household)?
There are six.

Who are they? Can you tell?
Two elderly people (meaning herself and her husband), three sons and a girl.

How young is the youngest one?
The youngest one is over 10 years old.
Section 2
Have all your children been to school?
I have six children, three daughters, and three sons. Only one of them didn't go to school.

Which one didn't study?
The second daughter.

Why didn't you allow her to study?
[laughs] Life is difficult, here in the remote mountain area, the road to the school is not convenient. Three children are studying in Weining. One elder son, the second son and the last daughter. These two finished middle school (usually for ages 12-15) in Weining. The eldest daughter finished primary education.

Now you have two married daughters, right?

Where did they get married?
One in Heishan, one in Lushan.

Has your son got married?
He hasn't married.

None of them has married?
En, none has married.

Did your youngest daughter fail the entrance exam of the middle school, or was it that you didn't allow her to study?
Oh, we cannot afford it. In this place in this remote mountain area, you see, the road is rough, and there is no electricity. Everything needs to be done by the two elderly people (meaning herself and her husband), so we cannot afford that.

How much land does your family have now?
How much land? The land in this place is, it's... Let me see, we have six people's contracted land. [Under the household responsibility system a certain amount of land is allocated per person]

So your family has much?
En. Not bad.

What do you grow?
We grow potatoes, buckwheat and wheat. This year we planted some corn.

Do you plant corn with plastic film?

You use plastic film?
We use it.

Which crop has the higher yield here?
Potatoes and buckwheat. We didn't try planting corn with plastic film before. We usually ate the corn when it was newly ripe. We didn't spend much time on planting corn. We have many livestock and we cannot take care of so many things.
Section 3
How many livestock does your family have?
My family? We have four horses and four buffalo.

Do you raise goats?

We haven't bought pigs.

You haven't bought pigs? Do you prepare (hope to) to buy them (ie in the future)?
En (yes), I prepare to buy.

Do you raise chickens?
Yes, we have over 20 chickens.

Do you go to sell things, like chickens?
I so.

Do you eat many?
Eat some. We need to take some things to sell, such as eggs and chickens.

Where do you go for selling?

You go to Yancang for selling. Who will go in your family?
Who will go? The one who’s free will go.

Who is in charge of the family?
[Us] two old people are in charge. Those younger ones would only wander here and there.

Are you or your man (husband) in control of money in your family?
Both of us can have control of it [laughs cheerfully]. As a family, it’s always whoever has the time who will manage it. Money? It is just some pocket money, no big sum. Others, who don’t have other sources of income, would just raise some livestock, and take one or two cattle to sell. We just have a small amount of money, not a big sum.

What do you think are the differences between men and women?

Are there any differences between men and women?
Do you mean in living conditions or other aspects?

En. In living condition.
About living condition, women stay at home to do housework, and men go out to do field work. Women take care of the pigs and the livestock at home. There aren’t many differences.
Section 4
Do you think women labour more than men? Or men labour more?
Men do field work and the work is tougher. Women work a little bit more, they take care of this and that at home and they don’t have hands free.

Does your man drink alcohol?


Does your family believe in religion?
Yes, I believe.

You believe, does your man believe?
He doesn't believe [in religion]; only me. Our kids don't believe, and my man doesn't believe either, but he doesn't stop me.

Who is responsible for fetching water in your family?
I fetch it. It’s always women who go to fetch water.

It’s always women?
It’s the habit in this place. It’s mostly women who fetch water. If she’s too busy, men will go and fetch it once in a while.

Why don't men go to carry it?
Men do other things.

Do you use firewood or charcoal?
We use charcoal.

Where do you get charcoal?
Over there, not too far. We have some good conditions here, but we’ve got no electricity and no accessible road. Last year, after the road had been built, tractors could come to carry rice [to the village, but also a few farmers may be able to grow rice to sell]. Things are becoming more convenient. You mentioned about education. We didn’t even have a school here. The school was built last year so that the children can go to school. In the past, the classes were held at home. Whoever the teacher was, the class would be held at his or her home - like Zhao Qinghua, who used to be a teacher and he taught well. There were three rooms in his house. After he got married, he and his brother’s family lived in the two side rooms, his parents lived in the middle room. He then taught in the middle room. My younger child stopped studying and went to Xiaoliangshan to continue studying. Education is a problem here.

What do you think is the main cause of the problem?
What is the cause? It's mainly because our place doesn't have good harvests, and easily suffers (is prone to) natural disasters. There is frost in April, there is frost from April to June. April to June will be frosty. When the frost comes, we’ll have no harvest. It is good for livestock raising, but we have no money to build sheds. In July and August, the livestock would be left outside because we don’t have sheds.
Section 5
You said left outside, do you mean selling them outside?
No, we drive them out of our houses.

They are left outside for pasturing?
En, they are left outside day and night, so that they trample on the wheat. If we had sheds… [if] we built the sheds then we could keep the livestock in the sheds, we would grow corn with plastic film, apply green manure, so that there will be grass in winter for the livestock, then they don't have to go outside to trample the crops.

Are many crops destroyed by the livestock?

Just now you mentioned about applying green manure, but I saw there isn't much in the fields.
No, we don't apply it. We can’t look after it after applying it. We don’t have sheds and so the livestock are wandering around everywhere. You cannot control them. In summer, each family's livestock are tied outside by the door.

What impact do you think this has?
What impact? We just have no money, no money to build the sheds. All the houses were made of thatched roof. We can’t find that kind of grass [for thatching] now. Some people would build brick or tiled houses but they haven’t got the money.

I see a few families have built tiled houses?
En, we have a tiled house.

Oh, you have too. So your family is regarded as a better one in this village?
Better? No. We have to work harder than others, otherwise it won’t be good. Our condition is not good. Our children are all going to school. Three are studying in Weining. We’ve got no more money. We cannot afford [more schooling]. Though my eldest son was the second top student in the class, we couldn't afford for him to study further.

Which grade did he get up to? Did he graduate from grade 3 of the middle school?
En, he had graduated. He didn't continue studying because we couldn't afford for him to do so.

How much money do you need to support one child to study for a year?
I didn't count. Maybe several thousand yuan. He came back. We could hardly earn enough money.

What is the source of income for your family?
Mainly from feeding livestock.
Section 6
You sell livestock?
Oh, we sell livestock. We raise buffalo, horses and goats.

Like your family, you raise so many livestock - do you have experience of raising them well?
We have no experience. [laughs] We have a small shed. It's safer to keep them in on a Sunday, otherwise all will be stolen if you go out.

Many were stolen?
Many were stolen. They had no shed. They took all livestock out for wild pasture.

Did your livestock ever have any diseases?
Oh, they often have diseases.

The pigs often have diseases.

Did they receive any vaccinations?
No, they never received any vaccination.

What did you do when they got disease?
We found some herbs we know for them. We also went to Yancang to get some medicine. It's fine if they got well. If they didn't get better, we would just leave it.

Will anyone from the animal husbandry bureau come?
En. Now they come and give some treatment and it's better.

In the past, no one ever helped you to treat livestock disease?
No, we don’t have a doctor here. People got diseases but there wasn't a doctor.

Was there a barefoot doctor (village-level medical practitioner) in this place when you were young?
There was. It was better at that time. There isn't now. At that time the barefoot doctor visited the village from time to time. There is no one now. When people are sick, they have to go to Yancang and Lushan. We have nowhere to go if it’s an emergency. We have no place for emergency cases.

No way? Are there no local doctors here?
Local doctors? Local doctors cannot treat serious cases. They are not as good as the doctors in the national hospital. Their practical experience is not enough, nor is their training. Local doctors just know how to press your belly to test your health, they press your belly like that.

What disease can the local doctors treat?
The local doctor [tape is unclear]. What else does he know? There isn't a local doctor in our place.
Section 7
Did you ever get sick?
Yes, I have rheumatism.

Rheumatism? Are there many people who suffer from this?
Many, we work in the fields for the whole day, many of us have rheumatism.

Besides rheumatism, what are the other common diseases in this place?
In this place? I don't know what other diseases. Wrist pain and knee pain, many of these. Some others were taken to the hospital for check-ups, they don't know what disease they have got. [laughs]

Did other people in your family ever get sick?

Did you deliver the child by yourself?
Yes, by myself.

Are there any midwives here?
No, we’ve never had one here. There wasn't a midwife here. We all have deliveries by ourselves.

How long can women rest after childbirth?
Some rest for a month, some less than a month. There are women who have to start work in three days.

Do you think this would affect one’s body?
It has great effects.

Can you tell what they would be?
For example, the eyes go bad and get some disease. There are many postnatal diseases.

Usually, are women able to eat better food during pregnancy and the postnatal period?
How can you eat well? If you want to eat, eat something when you are pregnant. Those who often go to the market could buy something to eat. Some have nothing to eat. It has been changed much now, it is a little bit better. A few years ago, when we had children, life was bitter.

What kinds of vegetables do you usually eat?
We eat what we plant. Any vegetables - such as spinach, and cabbage.

All these can grow well?

Does your family plant?
Section 8
Does your family plant everything?
En, yes.

Do other families plant many vegetables?
Other families - they rarely plant.

Do you think they don't plant because they are lazy, or do they have other reasons?
They haven't got used to planting vegetables. Anything can be found in my yard, such as spinach, green vegetables, and these days there are onions, garlic, there are... I can’t name them all.

Can chilli grow?
It can grow.

So other families don't plant?
They do. They plant in July and August after they dig out all the potatoes. I plant even in the backyard. [some text missing]

How do you know things can be planted in this season?
I have been away from this village to other places for a while; I learned from others.

Where did you go?
Weining, Bijie, Guiyang.

Oh, you’ve been to so many places. What did you do in those places?
I went to Weining as part of a dancing organisation. I stayed there for a while.

You had been involved in a dancing organisation?

So you can sing, or dance?
I sang. Solo.

What kind of songs did you sing? Folk songs?
I sang our traditional songs.

You sang folk songs. Can you sing one for me?
Yuo... [still shy]

I’ll record it, anything is fine.
Aiya, don’t know how to sing. Now my voice is not good.

You can just hum the tune to me, those songs you sang before?
The songs I sang before? Such as Sanmawu (“dance for sowing flax”). I sang and danced.
Section 9
Can you just hum the tune to me?
You probably have heard about them already.

I probably haven't heard about them.
You haven't heard?

That was for Yi cultural dance. That was for shooting a film.

For shooting a film? Which film? Did you know? What was the name?
Let me see…I cannot remember the name.

So did you sing in the film? And danced?
I danced, I sang and danced.

Can you just sing a part of it for me? Even a short part is fine.
I'm shy to sing.

Only two of us are here. What are you afraid of? Other people won’t hear about it and the windows are closed.
I'm old and I'm shy to sing. At that time I was young, I sang. Now I'm old, my voice is not good, I don't know how to sing now.

You don’t know how to sing? You said you sang the shaomangge (“song for getting rid of illiteracy”). Were there activities for getting rid of illiteracy here?
I said samawu. It was about a kind of plant (flax) that we used to spin cloth.
[It seems the interviewer misheard the title of the song and thought it was about illiteracy when it was about flax.]

Oh, flax! What's the meaning of the song?
I sang about flax sowing. Sowing flax, after sowing we weed it, after weeding we cut it, cut it and have it dry in the sun. [When it has] dried, then we take it to soak, soak it then scrape it, scrape it then spin it, spin it then weave it, weave it then boil it, boil it then wash it, wash it then hang it on sticks. After winding the thread on the stick, we spin again…the song was like this.

Did you weave by yourself?
I wove. We wore clothes made of gunny cloth (made of flax or hemp).

There aren't [clothes like this] now?
There aren't.

Then you went to Guiyang and saw people growing vegetables?
Oh, in Weining. I lived in Weining for two years.

Did you ever attend school?
No, I just don’t have knowledge.
Section 10
Did your man (husband) attend?
My man attended. My man, he can read. Only I’m illiterate. That's why I try hard to support these children [to study]. Only one of them didn't study.

Do you think it's very important to go to school?
En, I think it's very important to go to school. By the time my eldest daughter studied in Fale, I told her that her grandma was old and couldn't go to collect fodder for pigs. I asked that girl to collect for her grandma in the morning. I taught the child well. I tried to take the girl to study. I myself don’t have knowledge.

Besides growing vegetables, what did you learn in Guiyang and Weining?
All things. I learned about hygiene and sanitation.

What do you think are the hygiene problems of this place?
Some families have changed a lot, some haven't changed. They get used to it. Like someone who wears dirty clothes, others see that it’s really dirty but he can wear them comfortably.

He doesn't care?
Ah, he doesn't care. [laughs]

Can't people learn from each other in your village? Like you, can they learn from you how to grow vegetables?
They learn. Most families grow [some] vegetables.

Did you teach them how to grow them?
Eiyuo, we look at each other, and learn from each other. When one sees other people plant something and find that it tastes good, then he’ll learn.
Are there any young people who have gone out [for work] in your village?
There are.

And young girls?
They have gone out too. My daughter has gone out to work in Xiaoliangshan.

Where is it?
In Lushan.

Oh, Lushan. What is she doing?
In the past, she helped doing some housework. Now they are running a dance hall. Don't know if it goes well.

Did your daughter send money back to you?
Yes. She isn't doing big business, so she does not earn much money.

Do you think it's good for girls go out like this?
Section 11
Why is it good?
They can gain experience. Life is easier and more relaxed, better than here.

Do you think the people who have gone out are different from those who stay?
Oh, they are different.

Can all people here speak Han language?

Are you regarded as speaking well?
There are many people who speak well.

When I was in Haiga and Fagou, it seemed the people there could hardly speak Han.
En, they can hardly speak Han clearly.

Sometimes they couldn't understand what I said.
What you said was easy to understand.

You can understand?
I can.

Is it because there are more Han people in this place?
There are not many, only seven Han families.

What do you think about these seven Han families?
They don’t have many differences with us.

If you compare them with Yi, do the Han manage their living better?
The same. For example, for the buckwheat you are grinding, some people use a bamboo basket to sieve it, while some cannot get used to this method. Our lives will be better after the road is built and the electricity connected. You see, everything has to be done manually. Like pulling the grind-roller, if we have an electric grinding machine, life would be much more convenient.

Do you think life would be better after the electricity was connected?
Oh, that - there has been an electricity supply [since] last year. The government is doing good for us. They built the road, and the school. It caused many changes, hasn’t it? Last year, the teachers had to teach at home. Vegetables, rice, flour, alcohol - tractors can now carry everything here to be exchanged for buckwheat [they exchange buckwheat, which they can grow, for the things which they can’t produce].

Do you think it's good that the road was built?

Why is it good?
Oh [doesn't completely understand]. I said, like building an animal pen [to keep livestock in], every family could contribute some money to build it.
Section 12
You suggest every family contributes some money to build it?

If you ask every family to contribute some money, will they be willing to do it?
They will, everyone will be willing but they just cannot afford to contribute They have no money.

Besides these changes, are there any changes in the natural environment?
Many changes, everything.

Can you tell?
Tell what?

Such as things about the natural environment.
The natural environment? It's still about the road. As I have said before, after we have road access, everything can be transported out for sale. Many children had never seen a truck, a car - or even a tractor before. This year, once the road had been built, we saw cars. The children can be in touch with everything. This is the benefit. If we have electricity, we can manage the livestock well, and build animal sheds. Things could be much changed. This place is cold in winter. It’s better in summer, not too cold and not too hot.

Were there many trees here in the past?
There were.

Had you seen that?
I had seen that. The trees were so big that even drillers couldn't drill through. Now they were all cut down.

Don't people here want to plant more trees? Such as fruit trees, don't they want to plant them either?
They don't plant.

Is that because the trees don’t bear fruits, or because of other reasons?
They don’t bear fruit. There is frequent frost and white rain (hail).

White rain, you mean hail?

Does it hail often?

Besides the frost and hail, what are the other natural disasters?
Heavy frost, and heavy rain. They wash away all our grain.
Section 13
Wash away?

Do you think that the grain being washed away is related to the fact that the trees were cut down?
They are probably related. I heard old people said that the trees were cut down so it gets frosty more often.

Do people in your village live long? [turn over the tape]
Live long?

How old is the oldest?
Over 70.

Are there many people over 70?
Not many, some are probably over 80 too. There are two to three who are very old.

Are there any problems about giving support to the elderly?
What kind of support do you mean?

I mean after the family has been divided, will their children support them?
Yes. There isn't a family which doesn't support their parents. Everyone looks after his or her parents.

Would the family be divided once the son gets married?
Some. If their relationship is harmonious, they will live together for a few more years. Some are together two to three years, some three to four years. Some have conflicts which divide the family in a few months.

Usually, is it the young people who put forward the idea of dividing the family, or is it the old people who ask them to do so?
Some young people like to separate, and old people do too.

Do you think it's good to divide the family or good to stay as a big family?
If the family is united, a big family is good. Some members can do field work, some can cook at home, some can pasture the livestock. But it doesn't rely on one person's thoughts alone (meaning whether you stay together is a joint decision; not just what one person thinks is best).

Would people help each other if anything happens?
Yes. We people here help each other. Once an old person dies, you don't have to ask, everyone will come to help.

Do you have any custom to do with dead people? What do you do?
You said when the old people die?

In the past people would ask the baima (someone who deals with the spirit world) to come and pray, to pray for a whole night, and dance, something like that.
Section 14
Asked who? Asked the witch (negative term for baima)?

They danced for the gods?
Not for the gods. They also murmured about the holy writings.

Is this custom still popular now?
Popular for some, but not for all. It has been six to seven years since the elderly people in my home died. We haven’t had that practice from that year onward.

Are there any special custom for when people get married?
For getting married? It has been much changed now.

Can you tell me what the difference is between the past and present?
In the past, for example, if a daughter got married, we sang the “courtesy of alcohol” (a ritual of “drinking alcohol to celebrate good days”). In the morning, we gave out a plate of cigarettes to those attending (relatives, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunties). That's not popular now.

What do people do now?
Now, they don't perform the alcohol ritual. It has become very simple. Now some people still ride on a horse, but some don't.

Do the bride ride on the horse along the way, after the bridegroom has come to take her?
Yes, she rides on a horse, with two people supporting her at the sides. Her face has to be covered.

Covered with a veil? Is this still practised?

When the man takes a wife, what engagement gifts should his family give to the woman's family?
His family should give money, buy some cloth and some shoes for her, also some [traditional Yi] headdresses or trousers.

How much money do you need to spend to take a wife?
Around 2000 to 3000 yuan. At least 2000 yuan for the gifts. In the past, it cost only tens of yuan.

How about the bride’s family?
The bride’s family?

Do the bride’s family give their daughter anything?
Yes, like bedding or something like that - the same as the Han do.
Section 15
Same as Han?
The relatives carry these gifts to her, such as a table, stools, cabinets or wardrobes.

What are the differences between Yi and Han in this custom?
Everything is different.

For example, when the Han groom comes to take his bride, he doesn't ride on a horse, while Yi people do. Only those who have paid all the engagement gifts to the bride by themselves don't ride on a horse.

Are there any special festivals here for the Yi?
Yes, the Spring Festival (major national festival every January or February, depending on the lunar calendar).

Is it the same as the Han’s?
The same. There is Duanyang festival (Dragon Boat festival, 5th day of 5th month in Chinese lunar calendar) in which we have horse riding on the baicaopin.

Is baicaopin a place? Is it a village?

Is that the grassland we have passed by?
En (yes), baicaopin.

You said you sang well, how did you learn to sing? Where did you learn it?
When I was still at my parents’ home, there was a teacher. He said my voice was good for singing folk songs.

Did you sing in Yi language or in Han?

Can you tell me your story of singing, and the happenings in Guiyang and Weining? Can you tell me your experiences?
I am not able to tell about it.

Tell me what you can remember?
It was long time ago, I can hardly remember.

How old were you by that time?
I was only 17 when I went to Weining.

You were only 17 when you went to Weining for the first time? You weren't married then?
No, I got married when I was 21.

Why didn't you settle in the town at that time?
In the town, at that time, the provincial song and dance association wanted me. Li Youcai who worked for the cultural centre was from Bandi. Only two of us were from his hometown. He and I were together. Later the song and dance association wanted to keep me but they said, “Take the child, she needs to go back, we are afraid the parents won't agree [to her staying here].” So he brought me back. After that, Yang Shiguan, in 1978, many people... [tape not clear]
Section 16
Do you regret not settling in the town?
Oh, the teachers wanted me to stay but I didn’t know how to plan for myself. I was too young at that time.

You didn't want to stay there by yourself.
Not very much. All my peers had gone, there was only me left. I had no companions. The teacher didn't ask me to stay in a definite manner. He just said, “Would you like to stay here for fun for a few days?” I was too young and hadn't thought it through. Then I ran back home. He came to ask me to go to Beijing in other circumstances, but I had got pregnant with my first child, so I didn't go.

Do you still sing?

When would you sing?
When I'm free. I was young when I was in the song and dance association. But when you have got something to be busy with, you don't think about singing and dancing.

Are there any others in your village who can sing? Any young people?
Young people? There aren't any.

Don't you want to teach others to sing?
I'm old, and I am not used to singing now.

Do the women in your village get together to chat?

Do you sing on those occasions?
I don’t dare to sing.

That's a pity.
A pity. [laughs] When I sit in the house at night and have nothing to do, I feel happy, then I will sing. When I don’t feel happy, there are lots of things haunting my mind. The burden is heavy.

I really want to listen to the Sama song you just mentioned.
Sama dance. That's a dance.

That isn't a song?
With singing.
Section 17
You sang and danced? You sang too?
Everybody sang together.

Can you hum the tune slightly?
Hum the tune? [laughs and begins to a little] Sama dance is... [sings]

Is this a short version of the song?
En, it's the short version of the Sama dance. It’s about cutting flax. The provincial song and dance association is familiar with this song.
What Han songs did you sing?
Han songs? I sang anything, sang more.

Can you hum a tune? [narrator sits down, sings again]...
What was the meaning of the song you just sang?
I sing as requested.

What are the words of the song?
I sing because you asked me to sing.

You really sing well.
[Yang Dingzhen laughs happily]

What are the things that make you happy?
The things that make me happy? Now I'm old, I am not so happy with anything. I just hope to make the family well, then I would be happy. I don't think about other things.

What is the most unforgettable thing in your life?
Most unforgettable? I'm vexed that I was not able to make good development in farming, so that I cannot take good care of the family. These are the things that makes me gloomy.

Oh. [laughs] We don’t have good economic conditions (no money), we have nothing. No food. These things make me gloomy.

If you had money in your hands, what do you want to do most?
Things I want to do most? I don't want to do anything. I only hope to make the family better, wishing the children grown up. I only pin hope on the children, only the children have a future. We are old, we don't have a future.

If this place is to be changed, to be developed, what do you think this would mainly rely on?
As I have said, electricity and livestock are important. We depend on these two. You see, as an ordinary person, you have to do many things in the evening, such as cutting up potatoes. If there is no electricity, you cannot do it. You can only do it when it's bright. When we dig out the potatoes, it is best to wash them in the evening, and put them to boil at night. Then we can eat them after we get up at the morning. Then we can go to work right away.
Section 18
What do you use for lighting in the evening?
Kerosene lamps.

Do all people here use the kerosene lamp?

So you need to go to buy kerosene?
Yes. Now it's two yuan per jin.

How much do you use in a month?
We need more than three jin in a month. Our children need to read books. Two to three jin are not enough.

You have stayed in other cities for a while, do you know anything about the law?
What kind of things about law?

Just the law, the government's policy?
The government doesn't care about us so much. The poverty alleviation fund they allocated this time rarely took care of us Liangshan people. They seldom take care of us here in Liangshan.

They seldom take care of the people here?
They don't care about us Liangshan people. [laughs]

What should they do to show us that they ‘care’?
What do they need to do? For example, when allocating the fund, they should give some money to the older farmers to build animal sheds, so the livestock will not destroy the grain. If the livestock are kept in the sheds, they will not destroy the grain.

Do you know some officials?
I don't know any.

Do you know who is the governor of the county?
Governor of the county? I don't know.

Do you know the leader of your village?
I know the village leader.

How about the town?
I know him. He’s Wang Xuezhi.

Do you know the chairman of the county now?
Don't know.

Have you been out again after you came back from Weining?
I haven't been out again. I got married after I came back from Weining. Since then I haven't been out. When I was young, when I was 17 or 18. At that time I was young.
Section 19
Weining and Guiyang, which place formed the deepest impression on you?
Well, impression, I cannot remember. I go to Weining from time to time. I have a girl in Weining. When my child studied there, I sent them rice and money, and sometimes accompanied them for a while. Guiyang, and Beijing, I cannot remember clearly.

You still go to Weining often?

You sing the folk songs very well. When you were young, was it popular for you to sing in the courtship ritual?
When I was young, I didn't like to sing male and female duet. I only sang solo. I was not familiar with this traditional singing of the countryside.

What do you think about the difference between duet and solo?
They seemed different. Solo is only one person singing. Duet is when you sing one rhythm and I'll sing another.

What are the other activities you think young people have?
Social activities? In this Yi place, young men and women sing in the evening.

Are the activities still going now?

Is it a preserved tradition?
En, yes.

Do young people enjoy free courting (courting with whomever they wish)? Or is it arranged by the elderly?
It’s seldom arranged by the elderly now.

Do you think this is good?
Good. In the past, in my man's (husband’s) time, we were arranged. Whichever family had a good girl who was spotted by a boy’s family, the elderly of the boy’s family would make a grab [for her].

Made a grab?
The boy’s family would grab the girl back.

It’s called qiang qin (literally “snatch marriage”)
Oh, qiang qin. Now you need to get the consensus from both sides.

The “snatch” you just described - was she snatched by several men?
For example, a family had a good girl but the boy couldn't get her by request, they just went to grab her.
Section 20
She would belong to the one who grabs her?
It was not really that the young people grabbed her and fixed the marriage, but it had to be negotiated by the elderly. The old people would discuss in this way, "”This family has a good girl, we need to think of a way to grab her.”

So they helped the son to grab her?

What did they mean by a “good” girl?
Good girl was someone who was good-looking, capable of work, and something like that.

What are the standards of good now?
Now it's fine if the two like each other.

Do young women here like to look for local men?
They will. It depends on her. If she likes this village, she can find someone in this village. Many of them look for local men.

Are there marriages with close relatives?
Close relatives? You mean the two families are related, and they get married? It’s rare now.

Were there any before?
Yes. Aunts married uncles. It’s rare now.

What do you think are the problems in today’s marriages?
The problems of marriage? There are people who can live well together but also some often fight. You can’t generalise. [laughs]

Are there men who beat their wives?
There are.

Would a woman tell others if she was beaten by her man?
She would.

Who would she go to tell?
She would go to her relatives, her family or the team leader of the village.

How would it be solved usually?
The old people would say, “Now you (the man) cannot beat her anymore.” He may listen.

Would the woman go to the government if she was abused?

Would people get a divorce? In this place?
Divorce? Seems not, not in this place.

Not popular?
There were divorces, but not recently.
Section 21
What do you think about the social trends now?

The social trends.
It's better now, but there are just some people who would steal buffalo and horses.

Do you think any measures could solve the problem?
Oh, this can only be solved by the higher authority.

Do you have any other things to tell me? Anything else you want to talk to me about?
Yuo, there is nothing more to tell you. Whatever you ask me, I'll answer. Nothing more to tell.

That's it. Thank you.