VI.Development of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a long history in China, and is a medical science formed and developed by the Chinese people in their daily work and life as well as attempts to treat diseases. TCM is the crystallization of the wisdom of the Chinese people, and has made important contributions to the continuance and thriving of the Chinese nation. Known for its unique characteristics and advantages in curing common diseases, frequently occurring diseases and complicated diseases, TCM has also proved effective in treating infectious diseases and is very popular among the Chinese public for its low cost, satisfactory curative action and mild side effects. TCM plays an irreplaceable role in China's medical and healthcare endeavors, and the Chinese government has always supported and promoted its development.
Networks of TCM medical services have been established to cover both urban and rural areas. Networks of TCM medical services now cover Chinese cities, providing services for urban residents through TCM hospitals, ethnic-medicine hospitals, hospitals of integrated traditional Chinese and Western medicine, specialized TCM hospitals, TCM departments of general hospitals, community health services, TCM outpatient departments and TCM clinics. In the rural areas, TCM service networks have also been developed to serve rural residents through county-level TCM hospitals, and TCM departments or sections of township hospitals and village clinics. Currently, 75.6% of community health service centers, 51.6% of community health service stations, 66.5% of village and township hospitals and 57.5% of village clinics can provide TCM services.
A unique training system for qualified TCM professionals has been developed. The state takes the cultivation of qualified professionals as the cornerstone for the development of TCM. China has enhanced its efforts to pass down the academic achievements and experience of renowned and senior TCM experts as well as the training of high-caliber professionals in clinical practice. An education system for TCM personnel has been basically developed in the forms of academic education, master-apprentice tutorials and continued education at different levels and through different channels. By 2011, China had a total of 46 institutions of higher learning specializing in TCM and ethnic medicine, with 553,000 undergraduate students of TCM on campus, as well as 294,000 practitioners and assistant doctors of TCM, in addition to 97,000 licensed and assistant pharmacists in TCM.
A modernization drive for TCM has been initiated. The state has proactively promoted theoretical and technical innovations in TCM through the application of modern science and technology, and has gained important achievements in basic TCM theory, clinical diagnosis and treatment, TCM technology and other related areas. China promotes the industrialization and modernization of TCM, and as a result the industrial scale and technical level of TCM has increased markedly. Currently, there are about 1,500 manufacturers of TCM pharmaceuticals in China, and the variety, quantity and processing technique of TCM pharmaceuticals have improved by a wide margin. The state attaches importance to the protection of TCM's cultural values, and 41 TCM programs have been included on the nation's intangible heritage list.
International exchanges and cooperation have been actively promoted. China has signed treaties with TCM contents or special TCM cooperation agreements with over 70 countries, and cooperation in TCM application in foreign countries, and TCM education and technical cooperation has steadily expanded. Now, over 160 countries and regions around the world have access to TCM. TCM acupuncture and moxibustion has been recognized as a masterpiece of the intangible heritage of mankind, and the Huangdi Neijing (Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor), Bencao Gangmu (Compendium of Materia Medica) and other TCM treatises have been included in the UNESCO Memory of the World. The International Standardization Organization (ISO) has set up a TCM technical committee and located its secretariat in China.