I have to give credit to the Chinese government for letting us into the country to do this story. They are well aware of 60 Minutes' reputation for tough journalism, but wanted the world to know they are trying to fix the gender imbalance problem.
Still, we waited until the day of our departure to do street interviews in Beijing without letting our minders know what we were up to. With two cameras, lights, boom mikes, and about 50 homeless migrant men crowded around a blonde woman in high heels (Lesley Stahl), it's no wonder that a "good citizen" called the police, who detained us for almost two hours, despite our producing the requisite permits. We were released in time to make our planes home.
For a report on China's surplus of males that aired last night on "60 Minutes," correspondent Leslie Stahl and producer Karen Sughrue traveled to China. China is a difficult place for journalists to work, thanks to the presence of government minders and the state's requirements that journalists seek permission to visit various locations or interview citizens. Sughrue wrote a "Producer's Notebook" for the "60 Minutes" Web site about her experiences, and I thought Public Eye readers would find the following section interesting. It seems that China was eager to tell the story of its efforts to fight gender imbalance – if it hadn't wanted that story told, one wonders whether "60" would have been allowed into the country – but even with those relatively favorable conditions, Sughrue and her team ran into trouble:
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