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Early History of Psychoanalysis in China

During the 1920’s and 30’s Chinese, mainly literary critics and theorists, but also some clinicians, were very interested in psychoanalysis. Many of Freud’s works were translated.


The Japanese occupation and the enormous changes in the government put an end to organized interest. In the 1950’s there was a slow resurgence of interest, which ended in the 1960‘s with the changes in the status of intellectuals.


By the 1980s interest was again rising. In recent years, there has been a broad resurgence of interest both among literary scholars and among clinicians, limited by the absence of fully trained analysts in China and by the paucity of Western analysts fluent in Mandarin.

In 1929, Freud wrote to the ex-Minister of Education of China (Zhang Shizhao):

“I am pleased by your intention, in whatever manner you care to carry

out…(to) introduce psychoanalysis to your native country, China."

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