Health Care during the Mao era

August 14, 2012

After the Chinese Communists (CCP) won the Civil war in 1949, health care improved in China. Prior to that, life expectancy for the average Chinese was thirty-five years. By Mao’s death in 1976, average life expectancy had increased by twenty years so the program worked.

In fact, the CCP was the first government in China’s history to set goals and plans to help its people living in poverty improve the quality of their lifestyles.  For example, soon after Mao Zedong’s healthcare speech in 1965, the concept of the barefoot doctor (with basic paramedical training) was developed. By 1968, the barefoot doctors program was a national policy.

The barefoot doctor program came to an end in 1981 with the end of the commune system of agricultural cooperatives. However, two-thirds of rural village doctors currently practicing in China were first trained as barefoot doctors

Under the barefot doctor program, there were three basic areas of medical care. Free substandard medical care was provided to the proletarian working class, meaning workers and peasants.

This program was the backbone of rural-health care in China, and anyone could become a barefoot doctor.

Mao told the people that if you wanted to be a doctor, you didn’t need to go to medical school. All you had to do was have the motivation to provide medical care to needy people and the government would support you and provide limited training.

The second class of medical care went to people like teachers, clerks and secretaries, ‘friends’ of the working class, the proletariat. The only difference was that the ‘friends’ had to pay to get medical treatment. It was possible to face financial ruin from one hospital stay.

The third class were considered enemies of the proletariat like former shop-owners, landlords and denounced intellectuals like liberal arts professors. These people were denied health care treatment altogether.

Then, between 1981 and 2003, the health care system in China was privatized, which meant people had to pay before treatment or no treatment. This changed in 2003, when the CCP launched a new cooperative medical system operated and funded by the government with copay of 10 Renminbi per year for each person covered by the program.

Discover China’s Urban Rural Divide


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Note: This revised and edited post first appeared February 27, 2010


China’s Communist Revolution or Civil War

March 5, 2011

In Russia and Cuba, there were Communist Revolutions. In China, it was a Civil War. There is a difference. says a revolution is an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.

A civil war is a war between political factions or regions within the same country.

The United States of America fought a Revolution from 1775 to 1783. The American Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865. Both fit the definitions. gets it wrong when it says, “Mao Zedong led China’s Communist revolution in the 1920s and 1930s.”

In fact, many Blogs and Websites get the facts wrong with it comes to China’s civil war. 

However, the PBS report clearly shows that in 1923, Sun Yat-sen, known as the father of China’s republic and the leader of the Kuomintang (KMT), allied with the Communist Party (CCP) to strengthen the republic and take China back from the warlords.

Then in 1927, after Sun Yat-sen’s death in 1925, the KMT broke from the CCP shattering the alliance that Sun Yat-sen had formed.

Chiang Kai-shek, the new leader of the KMT, launched a brutal purge to kill all Communists in China.

The CCP had no choice but to fight or be exterminated by Chiang Kai-shek’s KMT. With the support of China’s peasants, the CCP won the civil war in 1949. The US backed the loser.

In fact, both the CCP and the KMT honor Sun Yat-sen as the father of the republic.

In mainland China, the Memorial Hall for Sun Yat-sen is in Guangzhou on the southern slope of Yuexiu Hill and was constructed between 1929 and 1931.

Another memorial hall dedicated to Sun Yat-sen is in Taipei and was completed on May 16, 1972.

So, why do so many call it China’s Communist Revolution when it was a civil war between the KMT and the CCP? Could they be confused?


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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Sounds like China

March 24, 2010

“But everything I’ve experienced … and heard from journalists there, suggests control over the message has reached obsessive proportions. Even background (anonymous) interviews morph into ‘background with authorization,’ so that a quote from ‘an official’ must pass the review process lest ‘an official,’ should misspeak.”

The West often criticizes China for censoring the Chinese Internet and the media. What they don’t tell us—this is the way it has been for more than a thousand years.

“Chinese media have been tightly regulated since the presses started running some 1,200 years ago …. When Mao Zedong founded People’s Daily as the official mouthpiece of the CCP in 1948, he basically just followed in his predecessor’s imperial footsteps.” Source: Around The Block by Stephani Elizondo Griest

That quote at the top of this post sounded like a  criticism of China, didn’t it?  Wrong.  That quote came from an opinion piece in the New York Times and Roger Cohen was writing about Washington D.C.

You may also want to read American Hypocrisy