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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Chinese Culture and Society
EditorsKevin Latham
ISBN (Electronic)978131518024
ISBN (Print)9780415830584

King's Authors


When HIV arrived in China in the wake of Deng Xiaoping’s opening reforms, it quickly evolved into a matter far more complex than a fast-spreading sanitary emergency. A public health crisis that currently involves beween 550,000 and 1,400,000 HIV positive people1, HIV/AIDS has over the years become a dense discursive field where the key anxieties and ambitions of post-Maoist China become articulated.

This chapter chronicles the thirty year long spread of the HIV virus in the country, by framing it against the background of the historical changes witnessed by China in the post-reform period. Outlining both the main factors for, and the reactions to, the growing diffusion of the epidemic, I argue that AIDS in China was never simply a matter of public health, which required objective and scientific intervention by part of the state. Rather notions of who’s at risk and why as well as what’s best to be done to keep the disease from spreading penetrated the public domain of China from the 1980s onward, bringing about fears, prejudices and new approaches to epidemics management into the increasingly globalized social sphere of the PRC.

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