Gov't committed to promoting TCM tradition, development

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A white paper released by the State Council Information Office on Tuesday noted Chinese government's commitments and achievements in carrying forward the tradition and ensuring the development of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

The white paper, titled "Traditional Chinese Medicine in China", said China has established a TCM medical care system covering both urban and rural areas.

At the end of 2015, there were 3,966 TCM hospitals across the country, including 253 hospitals of ethnic minority medicine and 446 hospitals of integrated Chinese and Western medicine, according to the document.

Also, there were 452,000 practitioners and assistant practitioners of TCM (including practitioners of ethnic minority medicine and integrated Chinese and Western medicine) and there were 42,528 TCM clinics, including 550 for ethnic minority medicine and 7,706 for integrated medicine, it said.

There were 910 million visits that year to TCM medical and health service units across the country, the document said.

The white paper further noted the expedited development of TCM disease prevention and healthcare services.

TCM health management program has been incorporated as a separate category into the national basic public health service program, gradually releasing the potential and strengths of TCM in public health services, thus fostering a shift from treatment of serious diseases to comprehensive health management in the mode of health development, the white paper said.

With relatively low cost, TCM has contributed rather a higher share of services in relation to the resources it is entitled to. The medical care services provided by TCM institutions in the national total increased from 14.3 percent to 15.7 percent in the few years from 2009 to 2015. In 2015, out-patient expenses per visit and in-patient expenses per capita at public TCM hospitals were, respectively, 11.5 percent and 24 percent lower than those at general public hospitals, according to the white paper.

China has also made progress in building a distinctive system of training for TCM professionals and developing the country's TCM pharmaceutical industry.

A number of laws and regulations have been enacted and implemented on strengthening the protection of TCM wild medicinal resources; a number of national and local nature reserves have been established; research has been conducted on the protection of rare and endangered Chinese medicinal resources; and artificial production or wild tending have been carried out for certain scarce and endangered resources.

In 2015, the total output value of the TCM pharmaceutical industry was 786.6 billion yuan, accounting for 28.55 percent of the total generated by the country's pharmaceutical industry. The export value of Chinese medicines amounted to 3.72 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, signifying the great potential of Chinese medicines in overseas markets, it said.

The white paper said Chinese government treasures and protects the cultural value of TCM, and endeavors to build a system for passing on the traditional culture of TCM.

In total, 130 TCM elements have been incorporated into the Representative List of National Intangible Cultural Heritage, with TCM acupuncture and moxibustion being included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, and the Huang Di Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor's Inner Canon) and Ben Cao Gang Mu (Compendium of Materia Medica) are listed in the Memory of the World Register.

China is also making progress in TCM standardization, it said.

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