Giulia Zoccatelli is a Research Fellow at King’s College London. She completed her PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies and has conducted extensive research in Southwest China, focussing on issues related to HIV/AIDS, heroin abuse, and medical activism among socially marginalised and vulnerable populations. Her new research deals with medical infrastructures and patient involvement in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service.

Punish and Cure: Forced Detox Camps, Reeducation through Labour, and the Contradictions of China’s War on Drugs

By drawing on the life histories of 20 former and current heroin and methadone users in Yunnan Province, this essay explores the history, the logic, and the functioning of China’s anti-drugs camps. It shows how the tight intertwining of public health and public security models to fight against drug use has given rise to a contradictory policy landscape, whereby medical support always coincides with physical violence, social exclusion, and continuous surveillance of the bodies and the movements of Chinese addicts.

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