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Accepted Paper:

Validating Chinese medicine and nationhood scientificall by monkeys: Taiwan’s acupuncture researches in cold war  
Po-Hsun Chen (University of Manchester, UK.)

Long abstract:

In the 1970s, along with the rapprochement of the People’s Republic of China, U.S. President Richard Nixon’s China visit triggered a keen interest in Chinese medicine in the West. The world’s attention to China’s acupuncture anaesthesia stimulated the Kuomintang (KMT) government to emphasise Chinese medicine intensively in Taiwan. Apart from the human-centred history of acupuncture in the US-China relationship, this article argues that acupuncture experiment animals, Formosan macaque, empowered the Taiwanese government in constructing nationhood and pursuing the scientisation of Chinese medicine in the Cold War period. Through the theoretical lens of sociotechnical imaginaries, those monkeys were critical non-human actors in coproducing the KMT government’s imaginaries of modernity and orthodox China.

In the anti-communism milieu, the popularity of China’s acupuncture anaesthesia demonstrated the progress of technology in China but also assaulted the image of the orthodoxy of Chinese Culture that KMT claimed in Taiwan. In 1973, the Department of Health and National Council on Science Development announced multi-centre medical research on acupuncture. Taiwanese government also recruited a Chinese-born neuroscientist, Ha Hong-Chien (1924-2010), from the Pennsylvania State University to conduct acupuncture research by neurophysiology. He conducted acupuncture research with the animal Formosan macaque. During the industrial toxicants PCBs poisoning event in the early 1980s, this animal model was applied to Chinese medical therapy projects for PCBs poisonings and validated promising outcomes of Chinese medicine. Namely, these experiments monkeys played vital roles in not only convincing more biomedical experts but also propagating the KMT’s authenticity over traditional Chinese legacies worldwide.

Traditional Open Panel P235
Trial animals for nationhood: constructing nationalist medicines through animal experiments
  Session 1