Health care in late Qing Dynasty and Republican China: Western influences, Chinese solutions

Neville D Yeomans
Med J Aust 2016; 205 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/mja16.00918
Published online: 12 December 2016

Providing health care to the populous but poor nation has required flexibility and determination

Western influences from about the middle of the 19th century played a pivotal role in modernising and improving health care in imperial and post-revolutionary China. But these influences also came up against the forces of a long medical tradition, cultural pride, and xenophobia. Much has been written about the “barefoot doctors” and the move to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution from the mid-1960s.1,2 This article explores the less well known period that preceded it.

  • Neville D Yeomans1,2

  • 1 School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 School of Medicine, Western Sydney University, Sydney, NSW



I thank Professor Antonia Finnane, Professor of Chinese History at the University of Melbourne, for teaching me about this period of Chinese history and inspiring the writing of this article.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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