Dr Xiaoping Fang
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Social and Political Change Group
PhD in History (NUS)
Xiaoping Fang received his PhD in History from the National University of Singapore, where he majored in modern China and the history of science, technology and medicine in East Asia from 2002 to 2008. He studied at Nanjing University, China (1999-2002) and the University of Cambridge, UK (2005-2006). He worked at the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore before joining the University of Technology, Sydney in 2009. His current research interests focus on the history of medicine and health in twentieth-century China. He is the author of Barefoot Doctors and Western Medicine in China (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2012).
History of medicine and health in twentieth-century China
Research supervision: Yes
Selected Peer-Assessed Projects
Fang, X. 2012, Barefoot Doctors and Western Medicine in China, 1st, University of Rochester Press, Rochester, NY, USA.
In 1968, at the height of the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese Communist Party endorsed a radical new system of health-care delivery for the rural masses. Soon every village had at least one barefoot doctor to provide basic medical care, creating a national network of health-care services for the very first time. The barefoot doctors were portrayed nationally and internationally as revolutionary heroes, wading undaunted through rice paddies to bring effective, low-cost care to poor peasants.
Since 1949, Western medicine in China has been characterized by rapid development, including professionalization, institutionalization, and scientization, as well as quick diffusion throughout the countryside. Chinese medicine was predominant in the medical domain in 1949, while Western medicine occupied only a marginal position. Medical education and research were key factors in its development as a completely new system of medical education took shape after 1949. This system trained a large number of doctors of Western medicine, who were assessed and promoted according to their proficiencies. Great strides were also made in every field of basic medical science and clinical medicine, and professional associations and journals were established for each field. Together, these developments contributed to the rapid professionalization of Western medicine in China. The founding of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences as the leading institute for medical research in 1956 was followed by the establishment of medical universities and research agencies in every province. Medical research was closely associated with the needs of disease prevention and treatment and emphasized the basic theories of medical science. Among the achievements of this work were developments in understanding the trachoma virus, in the reattachment of severed fingers, and in the treatment of extensive burns.
Fang, X. 2012, 'Sexual Misconduct and Punishment in Chinese Hospitals in the 1960s and 1970s', NAN Nu: Men, Women and Gender in China, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 262-296.
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This article analyzes the official circulars relating to the punishment of male physicians for sexual misconduct in Chinese hospitals during the 1960s and 1970s. It reveals how the puritanical and political ideology of this period affected the images of male physicians who engaged in sexual misconduct, and argues that their punishment demonstrates how the social responsibility for upholding sexual morality, a task once ascribed to women in imperial China, had shifted to men in socialist China. The circulars were a mechanism to impose a new 'socialist sexuality' on Chinese society in order to strengthen the Chinese Communist Party's moral authority and ruling legitimacy.
Fang, X. 2008, 'From union clinics to barefoot doctors: healers, medical pluralism, and state medicine in Chinese villages, 1950-1970', Journal of Modern Chinese History, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 221-237.
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This paper explores the dynamic differentiation and reorganization of healers within a plural medical system from the birth of the union clinics in the early 1950s to the popularization of barefoot doctors in Chinese villages in 1970. After 1949, the state started to mobilize individual medical practitioners to form union clinics that implemented a system of fees for services, individual accounting, selfresponsibility for profits and losses, democratic management, and distribution according to each contribution. The union clinics became the township-level medical agencies following the establishment of county hospitals. These developments indicated the beginning of the dynamic differentiation of a plural medical system and formed the basic structure of the state medical system in 1950sÔ++60s. Through the complete reshuffling of healers within the plural medical system, by 1970 barefoot doctors were embedded in the reorganized rural medical world of Chinese villages.