China Adopts Law on Traditional Medicine

(Xinhua News Agency, Dec. 25, 2016. Complete text:) Beijing - China’s top legislature on Sunday [Dec. 25] adopted a law on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to give TCM a bigger role in the medical system.

The Law on Traditional Chinese Medicine was approved at the end of a seven-day session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee which concluded on Sunday afternoon.

Huang Wei, deputy director of the NPC Standing Committee commission for legislative affairs, said the law, which will go into effect on July 1, 2017, is a significant step in the development of TCM. It is key to reform of medical and health sectors and the drive toward a "Healthy China."

According to the new law, county-level governments and above must set up TCM institutions in public-funded general hospitals and mother and child care centers. Private investment will be encouraged in these institutions.

All TCM practitioners must pass tests. Apprentices and previously unlicensed specialists with considerable medical experience may only begin practice when they have recommendations from at least two qualified practitioners and pass relevant tests.

With a history of more than 2,000 years, TCM is seen by many as a national treasure in China for its unique theories and practices, such as herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage and dietetics.

This is especially the case since Tu Youyou won the 2015 Nobel Prize for her work using artemisinin to treat malaria.

But there is also considerable skepticism of TCM in the face of Western medicine, particularly over the former’s training and funding, and an aversion to using modern clinical tests. Animal-rights activists have also raised questions.

To this end, the new law said China puts TCM and Western medicine on equal footing in China, with better training for TCM professionals, with TCM and Western medicine learn from each other and complementing ...

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