State-building and the establishment of the modern healthcare system in China
The establishment of a modern health system in China can be divided into three stages. Stage One covers the periods between late nineteenth century and 1927, during which the Qing government and the Beiyang government established a rudimentary health system in a couple of Chinese cities. Stage Two, covering the period from 1928 to 1949, witnessed the efforts of the Nationalist government in managing nationwide public health by relying on medical professionals with modern Western training. In Stage Three, which spans the period between 1949 and 1966, a modern heath system was established in China. Not only was a national network of health institutions put into place, but also the state-imposed direct management of the newly-established healthcare system. Health institutions at different levels were reorganized as public institutions and pharmaceutical companies were nationalized. Overall, the evolution of China’s modern healthcare system experienced a shift from administration of public health and private medical care providers to a set of nationwide public institutions to serve the people.
KEYWORDS: Modern healthcare system state-building health administration public institutions
The new plague on the eve of a great change: China’s cholera epidemic in the early nineteenth century
YU Xinzhong & XU Wang
The great plague that broke out in the early nineteenth century was the first time China had experienced a cholera epidemic. China was about to experience a great social and economic change that was unprecedented in history. Through a discussion of the great plague from both global and Chinese historical perspectives, the authors point out certain relevant features of Chinese society at the time, particularly in the context of profound and complex social and cultural implications that the plague carried with it.
KEYWORDS: Qing dynasty Jiaqing period Daoguang period cholera the new plagueg lobal history
From respirator to Wu’s mask: the transition of personal protective equipment in the Manchurian plague
This article traces the development of personal protective equipment in response to the Manchurian plague of 1910. It does so by means of the language and practice of tropical medicine. The respirators (huxiqi) made of gauze and cotton that appeared at that time were first designed collectively by Chinese physicians in Harbin. However, such huxiqi were renamed “Mukden Masks” by the predominant English-speaking physicians at the International Plague Conference at Mukden in 1911 and presented as a Western innovation without acknowledging Chinese contributions. As Wu Liande gained more and more authority starting in the 1920s, he not only justified the application of masks in epidemics through a localized strategy of tropical medicine, but also reclaimed authorship of the Mukden mask. This allowed later generations of medical historians to acknowledge the making of “Wu’s mask” (Wushi kouzhao). The personal protective equipment born in the Manchurian plague thus became a physical portrayal of the asymmetric and yet dynamic knowledge-production and -circulation between China and the West.
KEYWORDS: Respirator Wu’s mask Manchurian plague tropical medicine Wu Liande (Wu Lien-Teh)
Diet for war: military nutrition in Republican China
LIU Michael Shiyung
China’s earliest modern nutritional studies were undertaken in Republican era during the second decade of the twentieth century. They aimed to improve workers’ health, reaching their peak in the 1930s. In the 1940s the demand to apply nutritional knowledge to aid military personnel arose during the Second Sino-Japanese War, when American medical aid poured into the remote southwest Chinese border. Later, the Civil War (1946–1949) prolonged the demand for proper military nutrition. This article discusses how biomedical nutritional studies were promoted in Republican China for military demands both as a tool to improve soldiers’ bodies and as a symbol of the American alliance. Actions concerning military nutrition in the Republican era were built on a certain complexity due to convoluted military and diplomatic reasons. Moreover, both reasons were intertwined with a controversy about the appropriateness of the Western nutritional diet for the Chinese body.
KEYWORDS: Nutritional science military medicine the Second Sino-Japanese War American medical aid
Contract and secular custom in early Republican China: the Shanghai Native Bankers’ Guild, 1917–1928
Personalised guanxi are often seen as the backbone of Chinese social and commercial life. Historical evidence, however, suggests that a number of impersonal economic and social mechanisms existed that limited, altered or extended guanxi-type personal relations. At the heart of these mechanisms were contracts, governed by principles of law and putative custom. This paper examines the status of customs in Republican-era contracts, showing how “customs” were manufactured by commercial interest groups to create secular and effective contracts. The empirical basis for these findings is a case study of the Shanghai Native Bankers’ Guild (Shanghai qianye gonghui) between 1917 and 1928. Native banks (qianzhuang) carefully crafted their “customs” to fit into the rapidly evolving institutional context and the secular discourse on legal reform in early Republican China. While the Guild had to cede power to commercial arbitrators and courts, it created a shared set of norms that facilitated impersonal contracting. Despite being a relatively limited case study in scope, this paper also suggests that the trend towards secular contracting went well beyond the city limits of Republican-era Shanghai.
KEYWORDS: Native banking guilds contract customary law Republican China Shanghai
Surviving Manchukuo: the economic struggles of ordinary people in urban Manchukuo from 1937–1945
This article explores the colonial experiences of Chinese people in urban Manchukuo from 1937–1945. Previous studies on Manchukuo have been framed primarily from the top-down, with emphasis on the role of government elites and Japan’s military expansionism, rather than on the ordinary experiences within the puppet state. Drawing on Chinese-language sources, the present research considers the impact of material shortages in ordinary people’s lives. It highlights how obtaining access to goods under the constant pressure of scarcities heavily depended on the establishment of interpersonal relations. This study examines how survival strategies and behaviours were shaped under economic pressure. It argues that ordinary people who were not in a position of power were able to negotiate their own terms for survival under the framework of superficial compliance.
KEYWORDS: Manchukuo ordinary people colonial experience everyday life social history
Technology transcending ideologies: Chinese cinema technicians at Manying
At the Manchurian Film Association (or, Manying), Chinese technicians developed technological expertise under the instruction of Japanese specialists and demonstrated solid achievements. Yet they endured socio-economic inequality at Manying, which led them to react in different ways to Japanese rule. They used Manying’s own inconsistencies in order to get better professional options and compensations, and they used flexible strategies to defend their freedom and personal interests. Most Chinese technicians did not share Japan’s imperialist ideology but nonetheless leveraged their positions to advance personal interests. After Japan’s defeat, they formed a union to protect Manying equipment and undertook technological leadership at the Chinese-owned Northeast Film Company. Their hope to resume their professions mobilized them to help Chinese communist workers transport Manying equipment to Northern Manchuria before the civil war started. At the communist-led Northeast Film Production Studio, Manying-trained Chinese technicians lost leadership positions, yet their overall contribution to communist aims earned them recognition and membership in the Chinese Communist Party.
KEYWORDS: Manchurian Film Association (Manying) Chinese technicians Manying Film Academy (MFA) Northeast Film Company (NEFC) Northeast Film Production Studio (NEFPS)
A history of the Chinese War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression
WU Minchao (吴敏超)
The mainstay of government finance: land tax and state revenue in the Qing (1730–1911)
ZHAO Siyuan (赵思渊)
Creating the center by the periphery: Shanghai and Jiangnan in history
FENG Zhiyang (冯志阳)
The quest for family revolution in late Qing and early Republican China 1895–1923
News under fire: China’s propaganda against Japan in the English-language press, 1928–1941
by WEI Shuge, Hong Kong, Hong Kong University Press, 288 pp., Hardback, ISBN 978-988-8390-61-8
WANG Yi (王毅)
Re-creation and self-formation: young workers in Shanghai, 1949–1965
LIN Chaochao (林超超)