Weisheng – hygiene in China

The equivalent to Cumpston in China was Wu Lien-teh, the Cambridge-trained Malaysian Chinese doctor who gained the trust of Chinese authorities when he used modern quarantine methods to successfully curb the spread of the highly deadly pneumonic plague that originated in Manchuria in 1910-1911. In 1930 Wu was appointed the first director of the National Quarantine Service, headquartered in Shanghai.

In January 1917 The Survey published an article by Wu on the history of weisheng – the Chinese term for hygiene or sanitation – in China. While Wu admits that Chinese urban planning traditionally did not have a good understanding of the importance of a drainage system for public health, he nevertheless argues that the Chinese always have, as a matter of cultural self-understanding, emphasised the importance of health in their everyday lives.

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