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6 Schistosomiasis

Bridie Andrews Indiana University Press ePub

Farewell to the God of Plague

Mao Zedong

While reading the June 30th edition of the People’s Daily, I found that Yujiang County has rid itself of schistosoma. With my mind racing, I could not sleep. A light breeze brought its warmth, as the rising sun approached my window. Looking at the southern sky in the distance, I happily set my pen to paper.



Crystal-clear water

And emerald hills

Are many,

But of what use?

So many poplars and willows

Dangle in the spring wind.

The people of China

Number six hundred million,

Even Hua Tuo, the legend,

Was helpless

Before this little bug.

Each one as great as Shun or Yao.

Under our command,

Red rain flows like waves,

In thousands of villages

Bursting with weeds,

Men are dying.

Whirling in the wind.

With great effort, we can turn

Green mountains

Tens of thousands of homes

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12 The Institutionalization of Chinese Medicine

Bridie Andrews Indiana University Press ePub

THE COMMUNIST VICTORY in the Civil War of 1945–1949 and the proclamation of the People’s Republic in October 1949 did not augur well for the future of Chinese medicine as an independent medical tradition. Under the slogan “cooperation of Chinese and Western medicine” (zhongxiyi hezuo), the Communist Party (CCP) in Yan’an had utilized Chinese medicine to gain the support of the rural population and to meet health care needs in settings where Western drugs and technological resources were scarce. Ideologically, however, the party’s leadership was committed to establishing a health care system modeled on the West, particularly Russia, in which there was little room for a medicine considered to be a remnant of feudal society and its irrational superstitions. In Nationalist-controlled areas, meanwhile, the Chinese-medical infrastructure created during the 1920s and ’30s had been all but dismantled (Deng 1999, 176–191). And yet, less than ten years later a large-scale effort was underway to rebuild Chinese medicine as a modern tradition that would make a unique contribution to the health care of China and even the world. On October 11, 1958, Mao Zedong famously declared Chinese medicine to be “a great treasure-house” and demanded that its resources be forcefully developed. Another quarter of a century later, in 1982, the principle of “paying equal attention to Chinese and Western medicine” was enshrined in the PRC Constitution. Ever since, the country has enjoyed the fruits and problems of an officially plural health care system. (For foundational accounts of Chinese medicine in contemporary China, see Cai, Li, and Zhang 1999; Meng 1999; Taylor 2004; Wang and Cai 1999; Zhang 1994; Zhen and Fu 1991.)

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2 Changing Patterns of Diseases and Longevity: The Evolution of Health in Twentieth-Century Beijing

Bridie Andrews Indiana University Press ePub

WHILE BEIJING, THE capital of China, cannot be said to be typical of the country as a whole, the relatively ample documentation of the health of its citizens will be used in this chapter to provide a window into the process of health modernization in China over the twentieth century.

The process of health modernization in Beijing began during the late Qing reforms, or “New Policies” era (1901–1911). In 1905 the Board of Police, set up under the new Ministry of Police, had three departments, one of which was the Department of Health Services (weisheng shu). The department was divided into four sections:

1. Street Cleaning: cleaning streets, public toilets, garbage disposal, and controlling sewage and litter.

2. Disease Prevention: preventing epidemics by vaccination and surveillance of hospitals, slaughterhouses, and food shops.

3. Medicine: administering medical schools and hospitals, certifying doctors, publishing medical books, and keeping statistics of births and deaths.

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9 Foreign Models of Medicine in Twentieth-Century China

Bridie Andrews Indiana University Press ePub

Competing Models during the Republican Era:
Japan, Europe, and the United States

The people of my humble country do not know how to pay attention to health care (weisheng). In particular, they do not know that a country’s strength and prosperity are held up entirely by a strong and vigorous citizenry and that they must therefore pay attention to healthcare. We rely completely on the enthusiastic guidance from all of you assembled here to allow researchers in healthcare to develop and advance from one day to the next. Moreover, the destitute men, women and children in China depend on your church for protection and nurturance, as well as on the instruction in culture and knowledge. This is the great benefit provided by your church to my country. . . . In particular, we hope that you will continue, upon your return to your home country, to advise and protect the people of my humble country as before, in order to transform everybody into strong, healthy and cultured citizens in the future.

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11 The Influence of War on China’s Modern Health Systems

Bridie Andrews Indiana University Press ePub

WHEN THE NATIONALIST government established China’s first Ministry of Health in 1928, high rates of infectious disease, maternal and child mortality, and malnutrition still plagued the Chinese people, particularly in rural areas. The political and scientific reforms that swept Japan into the modern era had barely begun to take root even in China’s larger cities, and the high rates of sickness and death alarmed reformers who longed to improve people’s lives and raise China’s standing in the international medical and political communities. Achieving this aim required the adoption of scientific biomedicine and its application to the needs of 350 million people living in considerable poverty in the countryside. Drawing on reforms initiated in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union after World War I, reformers and statesmen came up with a low-cost strategy of improving health through public preventive care.

This chapter discusses how the Nationalist government pursued this strategy and with what results, discussing both the general situation in the country and the specific situation of Chongqing, its capital during the War of Resistance against Japan (1937–1945). In the 1930s and ’40s, public health care on a scientific biomedical model was a novel idea in China. Although the outbreak of war in 1937 disrupted much of what had been accomplished in the 1930s, by then China had developed a small but growing cadre of physicians, nurses, modern midwives, and sanitary engineers capable of working within the Nationalist state’s biomedical agenda to improve living conditions in China. Many of them moved to the unoccupied southwestern and northwestern provinces during the war, as did several important health agencies. These included the National Institute of Health, the National Central Hospital, and the Central Epidemic Prevention Bureau, all of which retained branches in western China after the war (Fu and Deng 1989; ABMAC 1946). The National Guiyang Medical College (now Guiyang Medical University) remained in Guiyang, Guizhou, and new agencies were established during the war, including the Chongqing Bureau of Public Health and the Sichuan Provincial Health Administration. Rather than curtail the development of health administration and state medicine, the war moved it west.

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