Office NAH 323
Office Tel. 3943 7672
Email chaoxiongzhang@cuhk.edu.hk
Educational qualification B.Sc. & M.Phil. The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Ph.D. Washington University in St. Louis


Chaoxiong Zhang is a cultural anthropologist working on the nexus of public health governance/care, environmental anthropology, development studies, and the anthropology of morality and ethics with a geographical focus on China. Currently, she is working on a book manuscript investigating drug users’ moral experiences and the politics and ethics of drug addiction and treatment in southwest China. This study illuminates how socially and morally marginalized populations, in this case, drug users, invent legitimate social relationships and strive to “re-become human” (chongxin zuoren) during their everyday treatment encounters against the backdrop of China’s People’s War on Drugs.


Her current research project focuses on ecological restoration and the biocultural diversity of he (glutinous rice) in southwest China. He, the staple food of many ethnic groups in this region, holds great cultural significance and symbolic meanings and plays a crucial role in forming regional alliances. However, since the Qing dynasty, successive governments have promoted replacing he with high-yielding non-glutinous rice varieties as well as hybrid rice. Biodiversity of he, including associated sociocultural practices, has declined dramatically. In recent years, local villagers have started to delve into and restore their local ecological and cultural knowledge, with the intent to slow down the biocultural homogenization and revitalize their rural communities. By conducting multispecies ethnographic research, this project explores the interplay of sociocultural, political, ethical, and economic factors in the ecological and cultural restoration process. This study also aims to understand further if and how an inclusive and sustainable model of living could be possible in rural China in the context of the global ecological and food crisis and China’s ongoing construction of Ecological Civilization.


Research interests:

Anthropology of China, medical anthropology, addiction, morality, care, ecological and environmental anthropology, development studies, ethnicity & minority cultures, cultural heritage.


Geographical areas of research




ANTH 1020 Anthropology: The Study of Global Humanity

ANTH 1100 Understanding Anthropology

ANTH 5020 Anthropological Field Methods

UGEA 2334 China Today


Selected Publications

Refereed journal articles:

2022. “Negotiating SHI-FEI and shifei: Pursuing a moralist self in China’s community-based addiction treatment programs.” Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry 46(2): 435-455.

2020. “Translating Guan’ai in the People’s War on Drugs: Enacting Relations of Care in China’s State-Run Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program.” East Asian Science, Technology, and Society: An International Journal 14: 85-108.

2016. “Barriers to community-based drug dependence treatment: Implications for police roles, collaborations and performance indicators.” Journal of the International AIDS Society 19(S3):20879.

2016. “共有金融:產權、情感和需求共同體——陝西白水社區發展的人類學個案研究.” 開放時代 (6): 96-106.

Book reviews:

  1. “再現實驗場生命:評《麻風醫生與巨變中國:後帝國實驗下的疾病隱喻與防疫歷史》” 文化研究 [Router: A Journal of Cultural Studies].

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