Chinese Medicine in Early Communist China, 1945-63: A Medicine of Revolution

By Gross, Miriam | The China Journal, July 2006 | Go to article overview

Chinese Medicine in Early Communist China, 1945-63: A Medicine of Revolution


Gross, Miriam, The China Journal


Chinese Medicine in Early Communist China, 1945-63: A Medicine of Revolution, by Kim Taylor. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005. xii + 236 pp. £60.00/US$105.00 (hardcover).

How did Chinese medicine, which first partially lost official patronage during the Qing dynasty and then was accused of being a hoary remnant of feudalism, achieve the overwhelming revival it has today? How did therapeutic practice, training and diagnosis evolve under the new, highly politicized state sponsorship of the People's Republic of China? In a book covering the crucial period 1945-63, Kim Taylor explores how Chinese medicine repeatedly transformed itself in order to survive. This ability to be "flexible at the very core of its tenets" positioned Chinese medicine to become "a medicine of revolution" supporting the Communist agenda of societal transformation (p. 4). However, although it was a "medicine of revolution", Taylor emphasizes that Chinese medicine and the practitioners trying to revive and promote it had a reactive role. At each political turn, they scrambled to make Chinese medicine amenable to the upper echelons of the Party. This process was difficult. As policies shifted from one vague Maoist dictate to another, practitioners and policy-makers would discover that they had unintentionally gone astray. High-ranking officials repeatedly intervened to safeguard Chinese medicine, ensuring its continuity. In no case did upper-level endorsement occur because the individual believed in the therapeutic efficacy of Chinese medicine. Rather, officials supported it because of their own wider political agenda and because Chinese medicine tended to be cheaper, with more practitioners available. From the perspective of practitioners and therapeutic practice, the result was an attempt at simplification, codification and top-down control.

Taylor documents the impact of high-level policy and politics on the development of Chinese medicine, utilizing a strictly chronological recounting of events. She includes helpful appendices with the biographies of the first Chinese medical practitioners who staffed the newly established 1955 Chinese medicine research academy and a list of the national Chinese medicine course curricula for 1981 and 1997. She has also constructed an impressive bibliography of articles published by CCP organs on Chinese medical policy. Closely following the framework established by Ralph C. Croizier in his 1968 book, Traditional Medicine in Modern China, Taylor describes three stages marking Chinese medicine's rehabilitation from a supposedly heterogeneous set of superstitions appealing to people living in the countryside to a modern, scientific and systematic set of practices which, according to Chairman Mao, was a "great treasure-house" heralded as China's gift to the world. From 1945 to 1950, practitioners of Western medicine, endorsed by officials as an exemplar of the scientific ideal, were supposed to "cooperate" with Chinese medical practitioners. From 1950 to 1958, the two medicines were supposed to "unify", so that Chinese medicine lost a separate identity and transformed itself into a mirror of Western medical procedures. This was a two-step process: from 1949 to 1953 Chinese practitioners were to learn from Western medicine and from 1953 to 1956 doctors of Western medicine were to learn from Chinese medicine so that they could utilize their scientific thinking to help develop new curricula and techniques. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Chinese Medicine in Early Communist China, 1945-63: A Medicine of Revolution
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.