Weisheng and the Desire for Modernity


in Hygienic Modernity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780520240018
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930605 | DOI:
Weisheng and the Desire for Modernity

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This chapter reports the four “cases” of weisheng from Tianjin of the 1920s and 1930s. The first case explores evidence of weisheng in the advertisements from Tianjin's major republican-era newspaper, Da gong bao (L'Impartial). The ambitious plans of the Guomindang and the critiques launched by Tianjin's new medical elite form the center of the second case. The third case begins with a lecture on minzu weisheng, or racial hygiene, given in Tianjin in 1935 by the “father of Chinese eugenics,” Pan Guangdan. The last case considers the physician of Chinese medicine, Ding Zilang, who critiqued the underlying premises of modern weisheng and put forth a revitalized Chinese medicine as the way to achieve health and to resist imperialism. Standards of health and vigor were set by Japanese and Western products that helped overcome implied Chinese deficiencies of weakness and filth.

Keywords: weisheng; Tianjin; Da gong bao; Guomindang; racial hygiene; Pan Guangdan; Ding Zilang; Chinese medicine; hygienic modernity

Chapter.  12143 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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