DOI: 10.17720/2409-5834.v4.3.2017.05e

Pavel E. Ratmanov
Murav’eva-Amurskogo St., 35, Khabarovsk 680000, Russia

The article presents an analysis and interpretation of the satirical illustrations published in the Harbin newspaper Novaya Zhizn on the events connected with the pneumonic plague epidemic in Harbin (1910–1911). Bureaucracy and the ineff ectiveness of a number of medical measures were subject to criticism. The satire in Novaya Zhizn was mainly aimed at finding those guilty for the epidemic. In the winter of 1910–1911, the board of the Chinese Eastern Railway sent a group of epidemiologists to Harbin. The group was headed by Professor D.K. Zabolotny, who became one of the initiators of vaccinations against the plague, and the elimination of rodents, which were the infection’s presumed vectors. The relationship between Harbin doctors and Zabolotny was tense from the very beginning, growing into an open confrontation in April 1911. At the end of May 1911, a group of doctors announced that Zabolotny did not allow Harbin doctors to attend the Mukden conference. Officially, the conflict was not resolved, as Zabolotny urgently left Harbin for Transbaikal, where his expedition for the first time isolated the causative agent of the plague from tarbagans. Harbin’s various social groups at that time had different views on the events related to the plague epidemic. In this article only one view is studied – that of the Russian-speaking community in Harbin, reflected in a series of cartoons from the Novaya Zhizn newspaper. The illustrations that have been analyzed show that the events related to the pulmonary plague epidemic in Harbin and the serious diff erences that arose at that time in the medical environment did not remain unnoticed by the Harbin public and confi rm the public interest in health care and its medical representatives.

Keywords: plague, epidemic, China, the social history of medicine, D.K. Zabolotny, periodicals, Manchuria

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