Deficiency and Sovereignty


in Hygienic Modernity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780520240018
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930605 | DOI:
Deficiency and Sovereignty

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This chapter describes the sudden changes that engulfed Tianjin during the Boxer Uprising of 1900, when an international force comprised of the troops of eight different imperial powers invaded and occupied the city. The foreign suppression of the Boxers, and the dramatic impact it had on subalterns and elites alike in Tianjin, highlights the role of violence in the Chinese experience of modern technologies under the curious regime that some have called semicolonialism. The Tianjin Provisional Government had been formed at a significant moment in the history of medicine. It also established a special “epidemic prevention police” who were empowered to enter homes to investigate suspected cholera cases. The establishment of a weisheng system was one of the most urgent, and most complex, aspects of the Qing's new autonomy. Weisheng as a discourse of deficiency allowed Chinese elites to distance themselves from the violence of the Boxer suppression.

Keywords: Tianjin; Boxer Uprising; hygienic modernity; Tianjin Provisional Government; international force; imperial powers; semicolonialism; weisheng; cholera

Chapter.  12000 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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