Members of the Education, Science, Culture and Public Health Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) on Friday called for a law to enshrine the role of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
The law would call on the central and local governments to improve the structure of a TCM health care system and promote education and scientific study of TCM.
A few days ago, an online petition initiated by a professor with the Central South University suggested that Chinese hospitals should only prescribe western medicine s.
The proposal has stirred heated debate among Chinese people, with opponents labeling it ridiculous and ignorant.
The central government has announced that more support will be given to bolster the development of TCM to set up a service network covering both urban and rural areas by 2010.
The committee members at Friday's workshop urged the State Council to include the law on TCM in their lawmaking plans.
Earlier reports show that TCM departments in China receive nearly 300 million visits a year.
The TCM industry, with a total production value of 81.03 billion yuan (US$10.1 billion), accounted for a quarter of China's overall medical industry in 2005.
The World Health Organization statistics show that 54 countries in the world have formulated laws on traditional medical science.
(Xinhua News Agency October 21, 2006)