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Protestant Medical Missionary Experience during the War in China 1937-1945: The Case of Hubei Province

Chatterton, Jocelyn (2010) Protestant Medical Missionary Experience during the War in China 1937-1945: The Case of Hubei Province. PhD thesis. SOAS, University of London.

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Abstract

During the war medical missionaries were able to demonstrate fully their raison d’être of service and professionalism to the Chinese and their fellow countrymen. In retrospect it can be seen that the war proved to be a golden age of opportunity for individual medical missionaries providing them with professional, personal and religious opportunity. It was a period when they felt both needed and wanted in China, and they showed great resourcefulness in response to the constraints placed upon their professional work as a result of military action. When those in occupied China lost all contact with their home bases medical missionaries shouldered additional administrative responsibilities which increased their already heavy workload. Whether in Free, or occupied China, medical missionaries were forced to make their own decisions in the field, and the bureaucratic-professional relationship with their home bases became strained. On the ground they experienced a flowering of inter-denominational co-operation. While responsible for the health of their fellow internees in the internment camps some medical missionaries were unexpectedly subjected to accusations of inexperience and nepotism. Shared hardship did not forge solidarity. The internment of medical missionaries, combined with Japanese religious policy, which deliberately sought to weaken Chinese Christian ties with foreigners, gave Chinese Christians the opportunity to manage mission hospitals and clinics without western supervision. Post-war, supported by the National government’s National Health Administration policies, this newly experienced autonomy accelerated and reinforced the movement of Chinese personnel into positions of authority within mission hospitals. The end of the war thus marked not only the ebbing away of the medical missionary golden age but also pointed to the demise of medical missionary work in China since even without the Communist take-over, as more Chinese medical personnel graduated, medical missionaries were likely to become less needed and wanted.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
Keywords: Medical Missionaries,Chinese history,War of Resistance, Collaboration, Wartime refugees, Sino-Japanese conflict, Mission hospitals, Internment camps, post-war reconstruction, Chinese medical staff
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of China and Inner Asia
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of History
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Supervisors Name: Andrea Janku
Depositing User: Jocelyn Chatterton
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2013 10:37
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/16916

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