| 2020-03-10 | Hits:
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)
This character usually means “to save or rescue.” Its left part originally indicated a fur coat while the right meant “to take action.” Together they mean “to give a fur coat to someone in cold weather.”

jiù sǐ fú shāng
Jiu means “to save or rescue” and fu means “to help.” Si refers to dying and shang refers to the wounded. This term means “to heal the wounded and save the dying,” an idiom often used to depict the vocation of doctors and other medical workers.
The origin of the idiom, however, had nothing to do with medicine. It originated from the “The Letter to Ren An” by the Han Dynasty historian Sima Qian, known for his masterpiece, Shiji (Records of the Grand Historian). Sima Qian was castrated because he offended the emperor by coming to the defense of a general, Li Ling. In the letter to his friend Ren An, Sima expressed his ambition to write a definitive history of the Chinese past and mentioned Li Ling’s past achievements, in which he depicted how Li and his troops were so courageous and skillful in battle that the enemies had no time to save their wounded and dying soldiers.  
As this idiom has been passed down through history by word of mouth, it has become a symbolic idiom for doctors and their job of saving lives. The idiom has been popular since the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan. Thousands of medical workers throughout the country have come to Hubei Province, joining the local anti-epidemic efforts by carrying out medical rescue services. Some doctors and other medics have died of the disease in the course of epidemic prevention and control. Since epidemic prevention and control is still arduous and the working environment is dangerous, many medical workers at the frontline have also suffered from fatigue and injuries caused by constantly wearing masks and protective suits. 
This idiom represents not only how medics heal the wounded and save the dying, but also their spirit of bravery and fulfillment of duty. Whether fighting to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Hubei or racing against Ebola in Africa, they are working hard for everyone.