Project summary

Between State and Community−Public Health Campaigns and Local Healing Practice in socialist Asia 1950- 1980: Mao’s China, a case study is University of Essex research project founded by the European Commission. Th principal investigator of the project is Dr. Xun Zhou(

This project will survey two widely acclaimed campaigns in China under Mao Zedong: the Barefoot Doctor Campaign and the Anti-Schistosomiasis Campaign. Capitalizing on the recently opening of party archives as well as newly collected oral interviews, this project intends to move away from a narrow focus on party politics and policy formulation by examining the reality of health care at the local level and the challenges faced by local authorities and individuals as the campaigns evolved. A comparison of the Anti-Schistosomiasis Campaign the, a top-down initiative with a biomedical ‘magic bullet’ to deliver, with the Barefoot Doctor Campaign, a more general public health campaign focused on education, hygiene and the provision of basic health care, will bring out the complex interface between local everyday health strategies and state provision of both modern allopathic medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The overall aim of the project is to understand the processes through which better standards of health care were conceived and the different contexts in which they have and can be evaluated.It will not only help us to develop a more nuanced understanding of Chinese approaches to health, it will also contribute essential background to policy formation by generating practical resources for reviewing the more comprehensive issue of global health and provide further understanding for the global health policy debate concerning the use of primary healthcare to reduce global health care disparity.