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Farewell to the God of PlagueChairman Mao's Campaign to Deworm China$
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Miriam Gross

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520288836

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520288836.001.0001

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Chairman Mao Weighs In

Chairman Mao Weighs In

The High Politics of the Campaign

(p.15) Chapter One Chairman Mao Weighs In
Farewell to the God of Plague

Miriam Gross

University of California Press

This chapter provides an overview of the snail-fever campaign from the perspective of top leadership (1949–1976). It discovers why Chairman Mao and the CCP focused on this globally neglected rural disease as one of its first efforts to transform rural public health and how concurrent campaigns influenced the campaign’s trajectory. The CCP chose this disease because snail fever decreased army enlistment and rural productivity, thus negatively impacting military and economic security. The campaign would likely not have occurred without Chairman Mao’s long-term sponsorship. Mao, however, also used the campaign to undermine the professional medical establishment and the Ministry of Public Health. Although this secured party authority over the science in the campaign, his attack on professional science hindered campaign functionality.

Keywords:   Mao Zedong, Korean War, Ministry of Public Health, schistosomiasis, Chinese politics

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