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Abstract

This dissertation examines the integration of Chinese and Western medicine in trajectories of cancer treatment in contemporary China. Since its inauguration as one of the three guiding principles of state health care policy in 1950, “integrating Chinese and Western medicine” (zhongxiyi jiehe) has animated public health infrastructure-building in China from inserting Chinese medicine departments at almost every state-run hospital to mobilizing village health workers in rural China. In the seventy years since, Chinese population demographics and disease patterns have transformed toward a preponderance of chronic non-communicable and terminal illnesses such as cancer that afflict an aging citizenry. Concurrently, the state health infrastructure underwent several waves of macroeconomic reforms such that cancer treatment has become an indispensable investment in the academic and fiscal portfolio of large state-run hospitals. At this epistemic and political-economic conjuncture, the hospital-based treatment of cancer has become an arena over which efficacy is contested and realized.

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