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Neither Donkey nor HorseMedicine in the Struggle over China's Modernity$
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Sean Hsiang-lin Lei

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226169880

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226169910.001.0001

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State Medicine for Rural China, 1929–49

State Medicine for Rural China, 1929–49

(p.223) 10 State Medicine for Rural China, 1929–49
Neither Donkey nor Horse

Sean Hsiang-lin Lei

University of Chicago Press

The alliance between the state and Western medicine culminated when the Nationalist government included in its first constitution of 1947 a commitment to the policy of State Medicine, a healthcare system through which the state guaranteed all Chinese citizens equal and free access to healthcare services. Specifically, I explore why the Nationalist government came to accept this daunting responsibility of providing State Medicine in the early 1940s. The key to this question lies in the emergence of rural China as the crucial arena for the political struggle between the Nationalist and Communist Parties in the 1930s. In their attempt to address this seemingly impossible task of providing modern healthcare to China’s rural residents, various historical actors—the Rural Reconstruction Movement, the China Medical Association, the Nationalist government, and the advocates of Chinese medicine—all arrived at the conclusion that State Medicine represented the only solution to China’s Health Problem.

Keywords:   State Medicine, rural China, Rural Reconstruction Movement, China Medical Association, Nationalist State, Chinese Communist Party, Chinese medicine, China’s Health Problem

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