Chinese Medicine in Early Communist China describes the transformation of Chinese medicine from a marginal, side-lined medical practice of the mid-twentieth century, to an essential and high-profile part of the national health-care system under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The analysis begins with the start of the Civil war 1945-49, when the CCP was entrenched in rural Yan'an and began to enlist practitioners of Chinese medicine into the communist revolution. Taylor explains that Chinese medicine achieved the scale of promotion it did precisely because it fitted in, sometimes in an almost accidental fashion, with the ideals of the Communist Revolution. In deconstructing the events of this period, this study succeeds in clarifying the circumstances in which a number of key issues in the recent history of Chinese medicine, previously regarded as proof of Mao Zedong's unerring support of Chinese medicine, took place. These include the formation of the term 'Traditional Chinese Medicine' (or 'TCM'), the exact circumstances of Mao Zedong's declaration that 'Chinese medicine is a great treasure-house!' and the unlikely beginnings of the formation of a 'Basic Theory of TCM'. By 1963 the foundation for the institutionalized and standardized format of modern Chinese medicine found in China and abroad today had been laid.