Xishan Hospital Founded by Danish Missionaries in Late Qing Dynasty

The former Xishan Hospital in Anshan, Liaoning
1/2The former Xishan Hospital in Anshan, Liaoning
Xiuyan Manchu Autonomous County Central People's Hospital of Anshan, Liaoning
2/2Xiuyan Manchu Autonomous County Central People's Hospital of Anshan, Liaoning
By Wu ZhongyiMay 26th, 2023

Danish missionaries founded the Xiuyan Manchu Autonomous County Central People's Hospital of Anshan, Liaoning Province, more than 110 years ago. This hospital is located in Xishan, Xiuyan, so the local people call it Xishan Hospital.

According to records of Xiuyan County, in 1898, Ole Olesen, a Danish priest, bought a house in Yidong and set up a church. At the beginning of his missionary work, there were only about twenty believers. In the following ten years, more than 300 men and women began Christians. In 1923 (the 12th year of the Republic of China), he bought land in Yixi and built a large chapel. This six-room building, which could accommodate hundreds of people, was funded by the old church, its members, and some non-believers. This church was open every week. A record says, "In 1892, Pastor Ole Olesen of Denmark bought a house to form a church in Xiaoshizi Street in the city, which set up a boys' school and a girls' school. There were two male teachers and more than 120 male and female students. The school fees were prepared by the Education Association itself." It can be seen that the school was founded in 1892, and the church began to preach the gospel in 1898.

According to historical records, Xiuyan Denmark Hospital was also known as Xishan Hospital. Its founder was Niels Nielsen (1875–1945), a Danish-American who had studied in the United States and obtained a doctor's degree in medicine. His wife Ane Kirstine Jrgensen Nielsen, a nurse, was American. From 1907 to 1940, his wife came to Xiuyan with her husband and worked as a nurse in the Xiuyan Denmark Hospital.

According to historical records of Xiuyan at that time, in 1902, Niels Nielsen went to China to preach and provide medical assistance to the people of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark. In 1911, the Danish Christian Abroad Evangelistic Association donated money to purchase 12,224 square meters of land in the foothills of Xiashan in Xiuyan Town for the building of a hospital, which was supervised by Niels Nielsen and completed in 1913. This hospital has three buildings with 79 rooms and 37 tile-roofed rooms. There are two experimental buildings, and the male ward area and female ward area were divided.

According to reports, Xishan Hospital at that time had operating rooms, laboratories, outpatient clinics, pharmacies, and operating rooms. According to statistics from 1940, the daily cost of hospitalization for hospitalized patients was 0.4 yuan. The heated brick bed cost three yuan per day, and the single room cost 1.2 yuan per day. Fees for children under eight years old were halved. During the first year of operation, 419 male patients and 428 female patients were hospitalized, and more than 80 operations were performed.

This hospital stipulated that all Chinese staff and medical staff in this hospital must believe in God. There was worship every night. The employees who didn't believe would be sent to the class for baptism candidates or dismissed. Patients must also worship every day. Otherwise, the cost of medicine would increase until they were discharged. For those from poor families, treatment was provided at a reduced price or free of charge. The inpatients would have a daily service after lunch. There were also hospital missionaries who came to the patient's bed to give individual lectures during hospitalization. The hospital also had a nursing school with a three-year system. After obtaining the graduation certificate, students also need to pass the unified examination of the Chinese Nurses Association to obtain the nurse certificate.

The former site of the Xishan Hospital is now in the courtyard of the Xiuyan Manchu Autonomous County Central People's Hospital, Liaoning Province. Some of its buildings have been demolished, and it was designated as the municipal cultural relic protection unit of Anshan City in 2009.

At that time, about three or four Danish doctors in the hospital were missionaries, and about three or four Chinese missionaries were employed. The first five presidents of Xishan Hospital were all Danish priests, and among them, Niels Nielsen had acquired Chinese nationality.

 (The article is originally published by the Gospel Times and the author reported from Liaoning.)

-Translated by Nicolas Cao

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