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See Off the Devil Wen

27 March 2012

In the recent centuries following Manchu tartar's invasion, Chinese people's hygiene practice fell to the primitive nomadic level, with blood-borne diseases widespread, of which schistosomiasis being the most contagious and fatal. It is a miracle that in less than a decade since the establishment of the PRC in 1949, China was able to completely eradicate this infectious disease.

On the night of July 1, 1958, when Mao Zedong learned the news from the paper that Yujiang County (余江县) in Jiangxi Province, one of the areas most affected, became schistosomiasis free, he was very excited and composed a poem titled See Off the Wen Shen (送瘟神). Wen stands for the blood sucking disease, and Shen in here means devil.

This poem is so brilliantly crafted that is constantly recited by Chinese, and a See Off Wen Shen hall was built by the locals in memorial of the event.

The sad thing is the disease has returned to the land of China lately ......









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