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Red Star over Medicine: Redefining Doctor-Patient Relationship in Early CPC

Event Type
Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Lucy Ellis Lounge, 1080 Foreign Languages Building (707 S Mathews Ave, Urbana)
wifi event
Oct 28, 2022   1:00 - 2:30 pm  
Dr. Shao Dan (Associate Professor, EALC and Gender & Women’s Studies, UIUC)
Yu Chuan Shen

*This is a Hybrid event.


How did the Communist Party of China (CPC) redefine the social and political roles of medicine and doctors as it developed from an illegitimate or minority party to the ruling political power? From the 1930s to the 1960s, decades replete with ideological shifts, political upheavals and wars, the formula CPC developed for its anti-imperial movements and state-building enterprise changed not only the political and economic fundaments of China’s statehood, but also people’s perception of physician-state-patient relationship. The article will start with a medical dispute that signifies a nostalgic idealization of doctors’ social roles in the 21st century. Following an overview of the major shifts in medical regulations that define doctors’ roles in the early ROC and the CPC regimes, the discussion then highlights three interrelated elements in CPC’s wartime medical experiences: an extremely high standard of morality for medical practitioners; de-commodification of medical services; and mobilization of medical practitioners to support the CPC’s political agenda. The CPC’s wartime medical experiences at the regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive levels are essential to our understanding of the institutionalization of medicine in the early PRC and the changing physician-state-patient relationship in contemporary China.

Dr. SHAO Dan is Associate Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures & Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, UIUC. Prof. Shao studies the historical roots of contemporary problems concerning the making, shifting, and lifting of cultural boundaries and legal borders in Chinese society. Her recent research focuses on unintended social consequences of China’s importation of legal concepts and codes since the early 20th century. Topics include Chinese nationality law, doctor-state-patient relations under the Communist Party, power harassment in higher education and the “Yellow Peril Redux” in the U.S. Prof. Shao is a recipient of several major grants/awards, including Andrew-Mellon New Directions Fellowship, American Council of Learn Society grant, UIUC’s INTERSECT grants, Center for Advanced Studies Fellowship, and Conrad Humanities Award.

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