Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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(1,640 words)

The idea of state-sponsored medicine and health care appeared only sporadically in Chinese society until the beginning of the 20th century. The year 850 saw the first government effort to collect and publish all available medical knowledge. In the 11th and 12th centuries, imperial decrees promoted the creation of hospitals and pharmacies. Such measures did not have far-reaching effects however. A relatively small number of self-taught and local physicians, lacking any formal training, practiced what is today called "Chinese medicine." The overwhelming majority of healers, …

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Unschuld, Paul U., “Healthcare”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 03 October 2023 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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