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Zhou Yuping 周宇平

Zhou Yuping

Zhou Yuping

Doctoral Candidate




Doctoral Project

Translating Medicine and Beyond: The First German Protestant Hospital Puji in Dongguan, China, 1888–1949


This project explores the first German Protestant Hospital Puji (普濟醫院) established by the Rhenish Mission (Rheinische Missionsgesellschaft) in 1888 in Dongguan, China. Missionaries introduced biomedicine and hospitals into China in the nineteenth century as a key to open the country for Christianity. Chinese and foreign modernists in the late Qing and Republican eras later integrated the establishment of a biomedicine-based public health regime into the agenda of transforming China into a modern nation state. How biomedical knowledge was transmitted, localized, and perceived during this transition period has been a main topic in historiography of Chinese medicine since recent decades. The existing scholarship, however, is American centralized, leaving the roles of other foreign health experts and institutions underexamined. This research therefore addresses the interaction between German medical missionaries and Chinese in the Puji Hospital-related affairs. The project asks how the Rhenish missionaries, as cultural brokers, translated scientific medicine and Christianity to Chinese audiences, how and to what extent the Chinese population, language, and the local culture shaped this process of translation, and vice versa, how the medical missionaries represented Chinese under the values of Protestant Christianity and biomedicine for their readers in Germany, and how the meanings of the hospital chronologically changed from the perspectives of different actors varying from non-medical missionaries, medical missionaries, Chinese patients to Chinese local modernists. I argue that the missionary hospital was a locality of cultural hybridity, both materially and functionally. Actors from different cultural backgrounds, particularly the Rhenish medical missionaries, Chinese patients, and Christian employees at the hospital, encountered and accommodated each other in this ‘contact zone’. In the meantime, the medical and religious knowledge transferred between German missionaries and Chinese was hierarchical and unequal. For example, the missionaries held the view that scientific medicine and Christianity were orthodox and superior to their Chinese counterparts. This study examines hospital reports, correspondences, images, and Chinese official documents concerning local public health affairs to uncover the history of a regional hospital in a connected global world. Thereby this project hopes to contribute to the history of medicine and transcultural studies.

Research Interests

  • History of Sino-German Relations in the Modern World
  • History of Medicine
  • History of Christianity in China


  • Since October 2016
    Doctor of Philosophy in Modern History,
    Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany
  • 2013 – 2016
    Master of Arts in World History,
    Nanjing University 南京大学, People's Republic of China
  • 2009 – 2013
    Bachelor of Arts in History,
    Hunan Normal University 湖南师范大学, People's Republic of China

Scholarships and Grants

  • October 2016 – September 2020
    Ph.D. Scholarship, China Scholarship Council
  • August 2021 – December 2021
    Completion Scholarship for completing a dissertation (Abschlussstipendium), State Graduate Funding (Landesgraduiertenförderung)

Seminars and Workshops

  • 25 July 2021 – 31 July 2021
    “Giants and Dwarfs in Science, Technology and Medicine”, The 26th International Congress of History of Science and Technology
    "A Struggle between External Aid and Self-Support: The Financing of Puji Hospital in Dongguan, China, 1888–1949"
  • 23 October 2020 – 25 October 2020
    Annual Conference by Chinese Research Association of German History
    "Reconstructing Patient Experiences: Confrontation and Cooperation between Patients and Doctors at Puji Hospital, 1888–1949"
  • 2 October 2019 – 3 October 2019
    Lisbon, Portugal
    II International Colloquium of Assistance Architecture: Hospitals and Other Healthcare Buildings – From Modernity to the Modern Era
    "The Puji Hospital in Dongguan, 1888–1949: The Interaction and Acculturation Processes between the Rhenish Missionary Doctors and the Local Society"